Billionaire Republicans buying up US elections

The Romney-leaning Restore Our Future Super PAC released its financial summary for the month of January 2012 to the Federal Election Commission and to say that their numbers are eye-opening would be an understatement.
Here is the summary page for the one month period:

In one month alone, Restore Our Future raised $6,617,550.00 and spent $13,938,397.62.  This single Super PAC raised an per day average of $213,469  and spent a per day average of $449.626 over the 31 day period.  The $6.617 million was raised from 138 individuals for an average donation of $47,953.26 per donor. When all of the revenues and expenditures are accounted for, Restore Our Future is left with $16,301,262.01 in cash.
Here is a chart showing the donors who have donated more than $100,000 to Restore Our Future in this reporting period with confirmed billionaire donors highlighted in bold:

Of the $6.617 million raised in the month of January 2012, $4.925 million or 74 percent of the total came from only 25 big donors who gave an average of $197,000 each.  One thing that you will notice right away is the large number of either CEO, Presidents or Chairmen on the list; of the 25 big donors, a total of 10 or 40 percent of the total are at the top of the executive heap according to their declaration. Of the 25 big donors, 8 or 32 percent of the total are billionaires, far, far outweighing their representation in society as a whole. 
Some of the names are recognizable but don’t necessarily have an executive position.  For example, Alice Walton is the daughter of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, and is one of the heirs to the Walton fortune, worth an estimated $20.9 billion and lists herself as a "rancher".  Jim Walton is her youngest brother and he just happens to be ranked as the 20th richest person in the world with an estimated fortune of $21 billion. 
Joseph W. Craft is a name that you will not likely recognize.  He is the President and CEO of Alliance Holdings, a major American coal mining company.  Here is a look at his compensation package for 2010:

Here is a look at his share holdings in 2010:

His 47,536,123 Alliance Holdings GP common units are worth a cool $2.377 billion at the current market price of $50 and his 15,902,620 Alliance Resources Partners LP common units are worth an additional $1.113 billion at the current market price of $70. I guess that puts him in the billionaires club, doesn’t it?
A name that you may recognize is J.W. Marriott, Jr.  Mr. John Marriott is the President and CEO of Marriott International, an American operator and franchiser of hotels.  He just happens to be a fellow member of the Church of Latter Day Saints along with one, Mitt Romney.  According to Forbes, Mr. Marriott’s net worth in 2010 was $1.3 billion.  Richard Marriott, John’s brother, controls Host Hotels and Resorts and also hits Forbes billionaire list with a net worth of $1.3 billion in 2010. 
Another name that you may not be familiar with is Bruce Kovner.  This gentleman was the founder of Caxton Associates, a New York-based trading and investment firm (or hedge fund by another name).  According to Forbes, he is worth $4.3 billion.   
Last but not least there’s Meg Whitman.  Ms. Whitman was named Hewlett-Packard’s CEO in September of 2011 after a rather lucrative career as the President and CEO of eBay.  She is has political experience from her run against Jerry Brown for Governor of California in 2010.  She spent $144 million of her own money in the lost cause.  According to Forbes, her net worth is $1.3 billion.
Despite all of the big names among the donors, it is interesting to see that there are still a few small donors among the lot, keeping the populist political movement alive.  Several donors gave $25 to the cause and one donor, a self-employed manager from Florida donated $5.  I think in the Holy Bible they referred to a small offering as the "widow’s mite"; a donation that meant far more than its nominal value to the giver.
I wonder if the Presidential candidates see it that way?

Click HERE to read more of Glen Asher’s columns.

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