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Binge Read: Big Money Is Here to Stay

Editor’s Note: At the end of each week, The Stacks rounds up the most important takeaways from campaign finance reporting around the country.

The first quarter FEC filings made a big fuss about small-dollar donors. And the presidential hopefuls did as much as they could to get attention for their “grassroot campaigns.” But this past week served as yet another reminder that big money is going nowhere.

What Have Top Trump Donors Been Up To Since 2016? [Truthout]

As the Trump campaign picks up steam, reportedly raising $30.3 million in the first quarter of 2019, Truthout explores the relationships between the President and his coveted network of megadonors, zeroing in on preferential treatment from “an entangled web of policy proposals, cabinet appointments and budget priorities”

Plutocrat Politics: How Financial Sector Wealth Fuels Political Ad Spending [Public Citizen]

According to a report by Public Citizen, not only did Democrats outperform Republicans in terms of who received more support from outside political spending groups, but an analysis showed that half of the money from the 100 individuals who gave the most to these groups came from donors whose wealth was tied to the financial sector, including hedge fund billionaires.

In total, these individuals gave nearly $690 million to the outside groups, with $359 million promoting Democrats and $312 million promoting Republicans. $19 million promoted outside groups that did not favor either party.

Chart: Alan Zibel  Source: Public Citizen/Center for Responsive Politics  Get the data  Created with Datawrapper [Via Public Citizen]

Why candidates should embrace public campaign finance system [The Hill]

Paul Smith, the vice president of litigation and strategy at the Campaign Legal Center, writes that Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand’s proposed campaign financing plan isn’t nearly as “novel” or “ambitious” as skeptics would like you to think. The initiative is actually an iteration of an existing campaign finance system, the Democracy Voucher Program in Seattle, which provides residents with $100 in political donation vouchers—and he claims that the results have been rather impressive to date.

‘Get the money in early’: 2020 donor hunt ignites [Politico]

Although all Democratic presidential hopefuls have condemned the influence that big money has in politics—and most have stated they don’t want help from super PACs—that doesn’t mean big money donors won’t have a significant part to play in the upcoming election. After prioritizing small-dollar donors in the first quarter of 2019, the campaigns are turning their energies towards big money donors as they look to establish footholds in networks of high-net-worth individuals that are capable of delivering multiple $2,800 donations, the maximum any individual donor can give to a campaign.

Bernie Sanders, a Front-Runner With Financing to Prove It, Struggles to Retain Outsider Status [Wall Street Journal]

Bernie Sanders has spent decades decrying the campaign finance system. In 2016, he blasted it as “corrupt and undermining of American democracy,” specifically targeting outside groups with few restrictions and undisclosed donors. All of which makes it more surprising that two such groups (Our Revolution and Sanders Institute) have already started supporting him—the groups have collectively spent more than $5 million since late 2016 promoting progressive policies and candidates, chiefly Sanders.

Credit: WSJ

As one of two candidates who has set up an outside group that now supports the founder, Sanders finds himself in awkward company with Joe Biden, a fundraising powerhouse whose tactics and style he has recently criticized. (It should be noted that Jay Inslee and Cory Booker are both supported by super PACs started by their supporters while Elizabeth Warren has been endorsed by Progressive Change Campaign Committee.)

Trump is finally catching fire with female donors [Politico]

The Trump campaign is already declaring a victory for this upcoming presidential election, celebrating new fundraising data that shows that women accounted for nearly half of their 2019 first quarter contributions, up from a mere 28% over the course of the 2016 presidential election.

9 things to know about Bill de Blasio [The Center for Public Integrity]

In the lead-up to the anticipated announcement of his candidacy for president, New York City mayor Bill De Blasio’s campaign finance track record—including an alleged pay-for-play operation—was put under a magnifying glass. And now that he’s officially announced, The Center for Public Integrity offers a high-level overview of his political and personal finances over the course of a career spanning stints on City Council and as city public advocate before holding his present office of New York City mayor.

According to CPI, “during the 2017-2018 election cycle, de Blasio’s political action committee, Fairness PAC, raised more than $470,000 in its efforts to elect Democrats to the New York state Senate and U.S. Congress.” We took a look at which politicians and organizations they decided to support, and included a comprehensive list of all the donations they’ve made to date (both in-state and out-of-state) below:

ContributorDateAmountRecipientJurisdiction
#8828 Fairness PAC2018-11-09$25,000.00#9098 Iowa Democratic PartyIowa State Campaign Contributions
#8828 Fairness PAC2018-11-07$500.00#2225 Heather Matson for Iowa HouseIowa State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-08-31$7,000.00JACKSON FOR SENATE 2018New York State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-10-22$2,288.00Gillum, Andrew (DEM)(GOV)Florida State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-10-18$50,000.00WORKING FAMILIES PARTY, INC.New York State Campaign Contributions
Fairness PAC2018-12-03$3,900.00Barrow for Georgia / John Jenkins BarrowGeorgia State Campaign Contributions
Fairness PAC2018-09-28$6,600.00Stacy Abrams for Governor / Stacey Yvonne AbramsGeorgia State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-10-31$1,650.00DEMOCRACY YESNew York State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-10-31$1,650.00DEMOCRACY YESNew York State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-12-14$10,247.00DE BLASIO 2017New York State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-12-18$5,000.00COUNCIL OF SCHOOL SUPERVISORS + ADMINISTRATORS LOCAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEENew York State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-09-19$2,000.00UFCW ACTIVE BALLOT CLUB - NEW YORKNew York State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-09-19$2,000.00UFCW ACTIVE BALLOT CLUB - NEW YORKNew York State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC2018-12-31$9,227.00NY FAIRNESS PACNew York State Campaign Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC (ORG)2018-09-30$2,700.00Gina Ortiz Jones for CongressFederal Election Commission Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC (PAC)2018-10-03$2,396.86Tammy Baldwin for SenateFederal Election Commission Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC (PAC)2018-08-24$303.14Tammy Baldwin for SenateFederal Election Commission Contributions
Fairness PAC (PAC)2018-09-30$2,700.00Friends of Lucy McBathFederal Election Commission Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC (PAC)2018-08-24$303.13Randy Bryce for CongressFederal Election Commission Contributions
FAIRNESS PAC (PAC)2018-09-30$2,396.86Randy Bryce for CongressFederal Election Commission Contributions
Fairness PAC (PAC)2018-11-23$2,700.00Mike Espy for Senate Campaign CommitteeFederal Election Commission Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-08-31$7,000.00RAMOS FOR STATE SENATENew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-08-31$7,000.00RAMOS FOR STATE SENATENew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-08-31$7,000.00RAMOS FOR STATE SENATENew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-12-13$5,000.00NEW YORK HOTEL & MOTEL TRADES COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL EDUCATION HTC COPENew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-09-25$5,000.00DC 37 POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEENew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-10-31$1,650.00DEMOCRACY YESNew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-10-31$1,650.00DEMOCRACY YESNew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-08-29$5,000.0032BJ UNITED ADF (ADF=AMERICAN DREAM FUND)New York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-08-28$5,000.00NEW YORK STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMNew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-10-18$1,000.00TPU LOCAL NO ONE IATSE NYCNew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-11-01$5,000.00DISTRICT COUNCIL #9 PACNew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-10-31$5,000.00MASON TENDERS DISTRICT COUNCIL OF GREATER NEW YORK POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEENew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-10-31$5,000.00MASON TENDERS DISTRICT COUNCIL OF GREATER NEW YORK POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEENew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-12-20$5,000.00COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA DISTRICT 1 PACNew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-12-20$5,000.00COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA DISTRICT 1 PACNew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-12-13$5,000.00LOCAL 6 COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL EDUCATIONNew York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-11-06$50,000.00NYS DEMOCRATIC SENATE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE (NYS DSCC)New York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-11-06$50,000.00NYS DEMOCRATIC SENATE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE (NYS DSCC)New York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-11-06$50,000.00NYS DEMOCRATIC SENATE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE (NYS DSCC)New York State Campaign Contributions
NY FAIRNESS PAC2018-11-02$5,000.00NEW YORK STATE LABORERS' POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEENew York State Campaign Contributions
NYC FAIRNESS PAC2018-11-01$5,000.00LOCAL 891 IUOE, STATE ENGINEERS POLITICAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE ( INTERNATIONAL UNNew York State Campaign Contributions

LA is reining in the real estate industry. Is it going too far? [The Real Deal]

Los Angeles officials have their city’s real estate developers in their sights with several proposed measures that hit the industry especially hard, including a City Council proposal to ban developers seeking project approval from making political donations to city officials and their personal charities. This proposal is seen to be in response to a donations scandal involving contributions developers made to Councilman Jose Huizar, Downtown LA’s supposed power broker.

See who the firms under investigation (Greenland USA, Related Companies, and Skanska) gave to by signing up for a free starter account and searching by contributor.

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