Election spending close to $2 billion


By Ashley Bunton - abunton@civitasmedia.com



Nearly $2 billion was raised or spent on the presidential election campaigns in 2016, more than ever before in history, through a combination of campaign fundraising, outside spending and “dark money.”

Clinton’s campaign raised $380 million more than Trump. Clinton’s campaign topped $497.8 million, more than double the $247.5 million raised by Trump’s campaign, according to data released by the Federal Election Commission and compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics Oct. 31, 2016.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, raised $11.4 million in campaign funds. Candidates Jill Stein and Evan McMullin raised less than $5 million each.

Outside spending by super PACs increased this election cycle to over $1.4 billion compared to the $519.6 million spent in the 2012 election.

Top super PAC contributors to the candidates include the National Association of Realtors ($4.5 million), National Beer Wholesalers Association ($3.8 million), AT&T Inc. ($3.1 million), and Honeywell International ($2.8 million).

Clinton’s super PAC donors included Soros Fund Management — a hedge fund started by George Soros, now the 23rd richest person in the world, according to Forbes — that donated more than $7 million to Priorities USA Action. Earlier this year, Soros Fund Management oversaw a deal between solar panel producer SolarCity and Quantum Strategic Partners that reportedly allows billionaire Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla Motors and SolarCity, to merge SolarCity with Tesla. Priorities USA Action spent more than $125 million against Trump.

Among Trump’s super PAC donors, the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies LLC disclosed a $13.5 million contribution to the super PAC Make America Number 1, the same hedge fund that’s tax evasion strategies have been investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The hedge fund was created by James Simons, who is now the 50th richest person in the world.

J.W. Childs Associates disclosed a $100,000 contribution to Make American Number 1. The private equity firm specializes in leveraged buyouts and recapitalization of middle-market growth companies, according to its website. The firm currently owns the footwear company Shoe Sensation. Earlier this year, a J.W. Childs fund sold Cincinnati-based Sunny Delight Beverages Co., which it had bought from Proctor & Gamble in 2004. The firm also owns NutraSweet, an artificial aspartame sweetener, that it purchased from Monsanto in 2000.

Make America Number 1 spent more than $4 million against Clinton.

John Powers Middleton Company disclosed a $150,000 contribution to the conservative super PAC Committee to Restore America’s Greatness. John Powers Middleton, who produced movies like The Lego Movie and next year’s Minecraft, personally contributed another $100,000 to the super PAC.

Total outside spending was three times higher for Clinton, at more than $189 million, compared to just over $59 million spent by outsiders on Trump.

Information provided by Federal Elections Commission, Forbes, Center Responsive Politics and opensecrets.org

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By Ashley Bunton

abunton@civitasmedia.com

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton

Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton