Here’s a statistic that should jolt you awake like black coffee with three shots of espresso dropped in: In the 2012 election cycle, 28 percent of all disclosed donations—that’s $1.68 billion—came from just 31,385 people. Think of them as the 1 percenters of the 1 percent, the elite of the elite, the wealthiest of the wealthy (the rainmakers, Heidi).
That’s the blockbuster finding in an eye-popping new report by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan transparency advocate. The report’s author, Lee Drutman, calls the 1 percent of the 1 percent “an elite class that increasingly serves as the gatekeepers of public office in the United States.” This rarefied club of donors, Drutman found, worked in high-ranking corporate positions (often in finance or law).
They’re clustered in New York City and Washington, DC. Most are men. You might’ve heard of some of them: casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Texas waste tycoon Harold Simmons, Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Those are a few of the takeaways from Sunlight’s report. Here are six more statistics (including charts) giving you what you need to know about the wealthy donors who dominate the political money game—and the lawmakers who rely on them …
… (follow 6 graphs with it’s comments) … //
… So what are we to make of the rise of the 1 percent of the 1 percent? Drutman makes a point similar to what I reported in my recent profile of Democratic kingmaker Jeffrey Katzenberg: We’re living in an era when megadonors exert control over who runs for office, who gets elected, and what politicians say and do. “And in an era of unlimited campaign contributions,” Drutman writes, “the power of the 1 percent of the 1 percent only stands to grow with each passing year.”
(full text including many hyper-links).
Women Invades White House Protesting Plight of Guantanamo Detainees, 2.52 min, on Dissident Voice, by Eddie Becker, June 26, 2013: Diane Wilson, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, like a Guantanamo detainee, managed to scale the White House Fence, in an effort to draw attention to the plight of the 104 hunger striking Guantanamo detainees, most held without charges. She was immediately surrounded and arrested by a Secret Service swat team armed with automatic weapons and a german shepard;
Privacy Problem? Road Shooter Found Via Mass Data Collection, on Spiegel Online International, by Charles Hawley, June 26, 2013: Germans are apoplectic about the Internet spy programs Prism and Tempora. But police here this week announced the capture of a highway shooter using similar tactics. Privacy activists are concerned …;
The Influence of Individuals and Family Dynasties: the Global Power Project, Part 3, on Dissident Voice, by Andrew Gavin Marshall, June 26, 2013;
Rebecca Solnit: How to Act Like a Billionaire, on TomDispatch, June 25, 2013.