Billionaires in politics: The top 25 Americans who funded politics in 2018

Chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson speaks at the National Israeli-American Conference in Washington October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron .

A small group of ultra-wealthy Americans pumps a lot of money
into politics.

We took a look at the top 25 donors who funded American politics
in 2018 and found that the list consists of, among others, an
assortment of financiers, heirs, and entrepreneurs.

The contributions of some of the largest donors — such as
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, George
Soros
and Tom
Steyer
— are well known, while other donors, like Jeff
Bezos
, are better known for their careers.

Interestingly, one
well-known political donors
 — Charles Koch
— did not make the list. Koch and his now-deceased brother

David
donated $1,816,650 to Republicans through their company
Koch industries in 2018, according to
The Center for Responsive Politics
. To make this list, their
donations would have needed to top $6.5 million.


Business Insider
previously reported that public affairs rank
as the eighth-most popular cause that billionaires donate to. Only
12.4% of billionaires reported making donations to politics in
2018, according to
Wealth-X
‘s 2019 Billionaire Census.

Collectively, the 25 billionaires and billionaire couples on the
list totaled a whopping $573,892,284 in political donations in
2018, data from The
Center for Responsive Politics
shows.

Keep reading to learn more about the country’s biggest political
donors, ranked in order of their donations during the 2018 election
cycle by
The Center for Responsive Politics
. Each donor’s net worth,
where available, was sourced from Forbes unless otherwise
specified. Their party affiliations are listed according to

The Center for Responsive Politics
.

SEE ALSO: Meet
the 18 ultra-wealthy Americans begging for a wealth tax, from a
Facebook cofounder to a Disney heiress

DON’T MISS: Less
than 1% of the world’s billionaires donate to housing and shelter
charities. Here are the top 10 causes the world’s richest people
give their money to.

25. Billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer gave $6.4 million to
Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Total donations: $6,463,400

Party: Republican

Net worth: $3.5
billion

Singer is the founder of investment firm Elliott Management,
according to his biography on the firm’s website,
but he is better known for his advocacy for conservative causes,
Forbes
reports.
Once a major critic of President Trump
, Singer has since met
with him at the White House. Singer does break with the President
on one important issue, however —
Singer is also an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

24. Former Breitbart News investor Robert Mercer and his wife Diana
have given $6,544,024 to conservatives.

Total donations: $6,544,024

Party: Republican

Net worth: Unknown

Robert Mercer, 73, is the former co-CEO of Renaissance
Technologies, a hedge fund valued at $50 million in 2017, according
to
The New York Times
. Mercer left the hedge fund in 2017 after
clients, including the retirement fund for Baltimore’s police and
firefighters, withdrew their investments from Renaissance over
concern about Mercer’s political donations and involvement with
Breitbart,
The Times
reported.

The $6.5 million that Robert and his wife Diana donated to
Republicans in 2018 was the smallest figure they’ve given in any
election cycle since 2012,
CNBC
reported. The couple, once among President Trump’s biggest
supporters, have become fatigued by the resulting media attention,
sources told
CNBC
.

23. CEO of Arkansas-based chicken producer Mountaire Corp, Ronald
Cameron, and his wife Nina donated nearly $6.6 million to
Republicans.

Total donations: $6,574,352

Party: Republican

Net worth: Unknown

Ronald Cameron is the CEO of the poultry company founded by his
grandfather, according to the North Caroline
Poultry Foundation
. Mountaire Corp is the seventh-largest
producer of chicken in the country, the foundation
reports. An alum of the University of Arkansas, Ronald and his wife
Nina have four children and nine grandchildren, according to the
foundation’s
website.

The Camerons were responsible for 80% of total donations to Mike
Huckabee’s 2016 presidential run,
ABC News
reported.

22. Indiana real-estate developer Paul Skjodt and philanthropist
Cynthia Simon-Skjodt gave $6.8 million to Democrats through their
foundation.

Total donations: $6,750,150

Party: Democrat

Net worth: Unknown

Cindy Simon-Skjodt serves as the chair of the couple’s
non-profit, the Samerian Foundation, according to its website. The
foundation provides grants for education, economic development, and
youth sports initiatives, according to its website. Paul
Skjodt is a former professional hockey player and real estate
developer, according to his biography on the foundation’s website.

The Skjodts donated $20 million to create a genocide prevention
center at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in
Washington, D.C. in 2015, according to
The

Indianapolis Business Journal
.

21. Jeffrey and Janine Yass donated $7.3 million to conservatives.

Total donations: $7,611,083 ($7,295,833 to
conservatives, $250 to liberals)

Party: Republican

Net worth: Unknown

Jeffrey Yass is a cofounder of trading firm Susquehanna
International Group, according to the company’s website.

The couple also donated $250 to liberals in addition to their
support of conservatives, according to the
Center for Responsive Politics

20. Investor Joshua Bekenstein and philanthropist Anita Bekenstein
gave $7.7 million to Democrats.

Total Donations: $7,713,540

Party: Democrat

Net worth: Unknown

Joshua Bekenstein is the co-chairman of Bain Capital, the
private equity firm cofounded by Mitt
Romney,
 according to Fortune

Anita, Joshua’s wife, is a philanthropist who manages the
couple’s private fund, which supports health, education, arts, and
environmental non-profits, in addition to serving on the board of
patient advocacy non-profit Upstream USA, according to her
biography on the organization’s website.

The couple lives in Boston and has five children, according to
Anita’s biography on the organization’s website.

19. Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, former Wall
Street Journal reporter Cari Tuna, donated $7.7 million to
Democrats.

Total donations: $7,720,230

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $11.8
billion

After leaving Facebook in 2008, Dustin Moskovitz founded
workflow management platform Asana, according to Forbes.

Alongside his wife Cari Tuna, Moskovitz has donated millions to
health and LGBTQ+ organizations through their foundation Good
Ventures, Forbes
reports.

Moskovitz maintains a 3% stake in Facebook, according to

Forbes

18. Home Depot cofounder Bernard Marcus and his wife, Billi Wilma,
gave nearly $8 million to Republicans.

Total donations: $8,000,018 ($7,980,318 to
conservatives, $500 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth: $6.5
billion

Bernie Marcus cofounded Home Depot in 1978 with Arthur Blank
after they were fired from their jobs at another hardware store,
according to Forbes.
Marcus was the company’s first CEO and retired in 2002.

Marcus was a major contributor to President Trump’s 2016
presidential bid and will support the President again in 2020,

Business Insider
previously reported. 

Read more:
The billionaire cofounder of Home Depot plans on donating up to 90%
of his $5.9 billion fortune, and Trump’s 2020 campaign will be one
of the beneficiaries

17. Charles Schwab, the founder of the eponymous brokerage firm,
and his wife Helen gave $8,531,440 to Republicans.

Total donations: $8,531,440

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth: $8.2
billion

Charles Schwab, 81, founded his brokerage firm in 1971 and
served as its CEO until 2008, according to Forbes. Schwab’s
fortune comes from his 11% stake in the firm. 

Helen is a philanthropist and serves as the president of the
board of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, according to the
organization’s website.

The couple resides in Woodside, California and has 5 children,
according to Forbes.

16. LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman donated $9,315,826, mostly to
Democrats.

Total donations: $9,315,826 ($433,500 to
conservatives, $8,317,326 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $1.9
billion

Reid
Hoffman
was an early employee of PayPal and one of the first
investors in Facebook, according to Forbes.
Hoffman founded Linkedin in 2003. Hoffman sold LinkedIn for $26.2
billion to Microsoft in 2016 and now sits on Microsoft’s board,
according to Forbes.

Hoffman gave $8,317,326 to Democrats and $433,500 to Republicans
in 2018, according to the
Center for Responsive Politics

15. Investor George Marcus and his wife Judith gave $9,610,125,
mostly to Democrats.

Total donations: $9,610,125 ($10,400 to
conservatives, $9,579,725 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: $1.5
billion

George Marcus is the founder of real-estate brokerage Marcus
& Millichap Company, according to the company’s
website
. Marcus is also the chairman of Essex Property Trust, a
multi-family real-estate investment trust, and he serves on the
board of California-based commercial bank Greater Bay Bancorp.

The Marcuses gave $10,400 to Republicans in 2018, according to
the
Center for Responsive Politics
. The rest went to Democrats.

14. Heiress Deborah Simon donated $9.7 million to Democrats.

Total donations: $9,744,070

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: Unknown

Deborah Simon is the daughter of Indiana shopping mall developer
Melvin Simon. Simon inherited a portion of her father’s fortune
after a bitter legal battle over his estate with her stepmother
Bren Simon, according to
Forbes

Simon’s family had a net worth of $6.8 billion in 2014,
according to
Forbes
.

13. Investor Timothy Mellon gave $10 million, mostly to
Republicans.

Total donations: $10,061,000 ($10,058,300 to
conservatives, $2,700 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Republican

Net worth:
$1 billion
 

Timothy Mellon, the grandson of twentieth-century business
magnate Andrew Mellon, funded the founding of New Hampshire-based
railroad company, Guilford Transportation Industries, according to

Forbes.

While most of Mellon’s donations were to conservatives, Mellon
also gave $2,700 to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, according to

The Guardian
.

12. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos donated $10,186,170 in total to
candidates of both parties.

Total donations: $10,186,170

Party Affiliation: Non-partisan, lean
conservative

Net worth: $107.4
billion
, $33.9
billion

Amazon CEO Jeff
Bezos
and novelist MacKenzie
Bezos
 made 60% of their donations to Republicans and 40% of
their donations to Democrats, according to
The Center for Responsive Politics

The pair finalized their divorce in July 2019,
Business Insider
previously reported.

Read more:
25 years after Amazon’s launch, Jeff Bezos is the richest person
alive. Here’s how he makes and spends his billions.

11. California-based psychiatrist Karla Jurvetson donated $12
million to Democrats.

Total donations: $12,431,198 ($5,400 to
conservatives, $12,415,726 to liberals)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth: Unknown

Karla Jurvetson is the ex-wife of venture capitalist Steve
Jurvetson, according to
The Guardian
. Her largest donation, $5.4 million, was to a
Super PAC aimed at elected pro-choice female candidates run by
Emily’s List,
The Guardian
reported.

10. Chicago-based newspaper publisher Fred Eychaner gave
$12,665,400 to Democrats.

Total donations: $12,665,400

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Net worth:
$500 million in 2005

Fred Eychaner is the chairman of Newsweb Corp. Eychaner became
wealthy after selling a television station to Rupert Murdoch’s
NewsCorp for $425 million in 2002, according to
Crain’s Chicago Business
.

Eychaner is also a major supporter of Hillary Clinton. He
financially backed her 2008 and 2016 presidential bids, according
to
Crain’s Chicago Business
.

9. Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman and his wife Christine
gave $12,882,200 to..
Source: FS – All – Economy – News
Billionaires in politics: The top 25 Americans who funded politics in 2018