Even though the presidential election is well over a year away, the first Republican primary is just weeks away. It feels like we’re constantly in an election cycle, with no down time in between.
From the day the candidate takes office the campaigning begins for the next time around. These longer cycles probably aren’t good for anybody, especially the candidates themselves, constantly on the road, as well as we, the people who are being constantly bombarded with slogans, smiles, and demagoguery.
But that’s politics.
This non-stop draconian effort ain’t cheap, as there appears to be a never ending need for funding.
So where does the money come from?
Well, you and I might give what we can to support a candidate that might share some values, but does our money really add up to anything? If compared to funds flowing into political Super PACs, the answer is certainly no. Wall Street has stepped to the plate big time with several of its billionaire financiers throwing their money toward Republican candidate Tim Scott.
This week, a filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosed major donations from Nelson Peltz, Jeffrey Yass, and Stanley Druckenmiller totaling approximately $1 million for the pro-Scott Opportunity Matters Fund Action PAC.
These Super PACs are what separate the men from the boys in terms of influence. Although they can’t coordinate with the candidate or donate to the campaign, they can spend money supporting the candidate, such as on advertisements, with only the sky being the limit.
Peltz founded the investment firm Trian Fund Management and previously supported Donald Trump until the escapades of the January 6th Capitol riots. Jeffrey Yass co-founded Susquehanna International Group, which filings state donated $600,000 to the Scott PAC. Yass is an ardent nemesis of Trump, and is utilizing his funds in an attempt to keep him out of the White House again.
He also gave $15 million to Club for Growth Action, a separate super PAC that is taking on Trump’s latest run for president. The filing showed that Stanley Druckenmiller, a veteran Wall Street investor, donated $150,000 to the Opportunity Matters Fund Action in April.
Ben Navarro, a South Carolina businessman and CEO of Sherman Financial Group, donated $5 million to a separate pro-Scott PAC.
While Scott is the latest to garner big bucks from Wall Street, he’s not alone. FEC filings show that Ron DeSantis has a billionaire of his own. Veteran hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones was a part of the campaign that raised $20 million in the second quarter alone. According to the FEC filing, the Scott landfall has placed him second only to Trump, and ahead of Biden, with cash on hand.
Perhaps a surprising contribution comes on the other side of the aisle, where a super PAC supporting the presidential ambitions of Democratic candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reported receiving more than half its nearly $10 million in funds from a single GOP donor, Timothy Mellon. Mellon, the grandson of Andrew Mellon, is the chairman and majority owner of Pan Am Systems, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based transportation holding company, and an heir to the Mellon banking fortune.
Another Republican, the multimillionaire entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, reported a $7.7 million haul for the quarter, however, it’s mostly his own money.
In an interesting note regarding Trump, very few of his top donors from his 2020 campaign have given to his rivals this cycle, a new analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by CNBC and NBC News shows. According to Trump campaign fundraiser Caroline Wren, “The donors are coming to the same conclusion as Republican voters — the primary is over, and Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee.” In addition, the Trump-allied super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. shows millions were raised from old allies of the former president, including:
- $1 million from New York Jets owner and former U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom under Trump, Woody Johnson
- $1 million from real estate veteran Charles Kushner, who is also Jared Kushner’s father and received a pardon from Trump before he left office
- $2 million from casino magnate Phill Ruffin
While the expression money talks can be true in most facets of life, it doesn’t always work out that way in presidential politics. It worked for Biden and Obama. According to OpenSecrets.org, Joe Biden raised the most money in the 2020 presidential election with $1.06 billion, and Barack Obama raised $982 million in inflation-adjusted funds in 2008.
While on the other hand, according to Bloomberg data, Hillary Clinton and her super-PACs raised a total of $1.2 billion in the 2016 presidential election, while Donald Trump raised $646.8 million.
CBS News reported that Ben Carson raised the most money of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates, bringing in $20.2 million during the third fundraising quarter. We’ll see how it all translates next time around in 2024.