Votes are not given, but bought. Voting and elections have always been about money despite it being celebrated as a festival in democracy and it will continue the way it has forever. The wealthiest decide the agenda of a government that decides the everyday living of the rest in a country. Candidates, however convincing their arguments and ideologies are, are always backed up by individuals and organizations that can flex their financial muscles to implement what they have on their agenda. 2016 is no exception. Here is a list of top 6 individual million dollar donors that have disclosed their spending on funding 2016 US presidential candidates.
Robert Mercer – $12,255, 000
A Wall Street hedge fund magnate, Robert Mercer is the co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, which was under scrutiny for avoiding tax burdens using complex financial structures. Between 2000 and 2013, the company evaded paying a tax of $6 billion, says Democrat Sen. Carl Levin. During the last six years, Mercer has spent nearly $37 million in favour of Republican candidates.
Mercer, a computer scientist holding a bachelor degree from the University of New Mexico, is one among the ten most influential billionaires in politics reported by Washington Post.
Mercer is funding Ted Cruz’s campaign who have spoken vehemently against crony capitalism and Wall Street
Toby Neuberger- $10,000,000
Son of Randy Neugebauer, a member of U.S House of Representatives from Texas, Toby is the co-founder of Windrock Capitals. He also co-founded Quantum energy Partners in the year 1988. He is the only contributor of Ted Cruz’s super PAC ‘Keep the Promise II’ with a $10 million.
He took his sons to a world tour for 110 days visiting slums in Mumbai, India, poor villages in Tanzania and orphanages in China to make them understand philanthropy.
3. Staci Wilks- $10,000,000
Wife of Dan Wilks among the Wilks brother, started Heavenly Father’s foundation along with husband Dan Wilks and each contributed $55 million to the foundation. The brothers have channelled funds to conservative politics through their foundations. They are each worth $1.4 billion, says Forbes. They are funding Keep The Promise III of Ted Cruz in 2016.
After working in their father’s masonry, the brothers founded Wilks masonry before getting into fracking business to get out the shale gas from deep below the ground. Thus, they stepped into the energy sector by founding Frac Tech, which was eventually sold in 2011 to Temasek holdings of Singapore for $3.5 billion.
Kelcy Warren- $6,000,000
Kelcy Warren is the chief executive officer of energy Transfer Partners, which he co-founded with Ray Davis in 1995, that become one of the largest pipeline companies in the US. The pipeline company has never felt the heat of falling oil prices. Energy Transfer Equity doesn’t have to pay any federal tax, as it distributes its earnings to the shareholders, being a Master Limited Partnership.
With an estimated wealth of $6.6 billion, he is the 181st richest man in the US and 527th richest in the world. . He is funding Governor Rick Perry’s campaign with a whopping $6 million.
As a music lover, he started his own recording studio, Music Road Records and conducts music festival annually in his 8000 acre estate in Texas.
5. Norman Braman- $5,100,000
Owner of Florida’s largest car dealership, Braman is extending his support to Marco Rubio and is said to be spending between $10 million and $25 million for his 2016 presidential run. Sixty-five percent of Philadelphia Eagles football team was owned by Norman and 35% by his brother-in-law Ed Leibowitz, which was bought by Norman in 1986, but only to sell the team to Jeffry Lurie in 1994. In his teenage, Norman used to be a water boy for the team.
Thomas Steyer $5,083,489
Steyer, first in the list to support a liberal, is a climate activist and philanthropist, supporting Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He joined the list of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates to give away half of his fortunes. Steyer is also one of the major fundraisers of Obama’s campaigns.
He decided to sell off his investments in coal mine projects in 2012, yet holds an investment in Farallon Capital Management.
Other leading individuals funding the 2016 candidates
- John Joe Rickets- $5,060,000
- Diane Hendricks- $5,000,000
- Daniel Wilks- $5,000,000
- Darwin Deason- $5,000,000
Related Video: What is a Super PAC and should it be legal?
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