In Part I of this two part posting, I looked at the individuals who have spent the most money thus far during the 2016 presidential election cycle, buying political favour by spending their hard-earned cash on "outside spending". As I noted, "outside spending" is defined as money that is spent by either groups or individuals that is (supposedly) completely independent of control by each of the candidates' election committees. Since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision, corporations, trade associations, labor unions and other social welfare non-profits can spend unlimited amounts of money on federal elections and, in some cases, the identity of these donors can be kept confidential, preventing American voters from ever knowing who is buying political influence. In Part II of this two part posting, I want to look at the top organizations that have funded outside spending groups and provide a bit of background information on the top three donors.
Here is a listing of the top 20 organizations who have funded outside spending groups during the 2016 election cycle:
The number one organization, Besilu Stables, is owned by Miami, Florida businessman Benjamin Leon. Benjamin Leon Jr. was born in Cuba in 1944 and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1961 at the age of 16. He is Chairman of the Board of Leon Medical Centers Inc., one of the larges healthcare institutions in the state of Florida. The company was founded in 1996 and now has seven locations throughout Miami-Dade county. The President of the company is now Benjamin Leon III, the son of the founder. Leon Medical Centers employ more than 2300 medical professionals and serve more than 44000 Medicare recipients. Here is a table showing his donations in this cycle:
Back in 2008, Mr. Leon donated $162,800 to John McCain's campaign as a bundler.
The number two organization, Rooney Holdings, is a family-owned, Tulsa-based company led by CEO and President Hon. L Francis Rooney III, the former Ambassador to the Holy See (the Vatican) from 2005 to 2008. Rooney Holdings is the majority owner of Manhattan Construction Company, a subsidiary of Rooney Holdings. It has built hospitals, schools, government buildings and sports facilities including the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and Houston's Reliant Stadium. The company also built the visitor center at the U.S. Capitol. Rooney Holdings is one of the United States largest privately owned companies.
In the 2014 election cycle, Francis Rooney was the 75th largest hard-money donor, contributing a total of $253,900 to conservative causes.
Here is a table showing Mr. Rooney's donations in the 2016 cycle:
I like the $100 donation to John Boehner in February 2015. I guess every dollar counts.
Lastly, the number three organization, Fair Share Action, is a Super PAC that has a Democratic lean. It was founded in August 2012 and is an arm of the Fair Share organization. Its aims are to "provide every American with a fair shot at a good job, a secure future and a strong voice in our democracy". Here is a table showing the top ten Fair Share Action expenditures in the 2012 presidential election cycle:
Here is a summary of its spending by cycle since 2012 and its total receipts and expenditures during the 2016 cycle:
In this cycle, Fair Share Action's two largest donors are as follows:
In the 2012 cycle, Fair Share Action's largest donors were as follows:
In case you have never heard of him, Tim Gill is an American software entrepreneur (Quark Inc.) and philanthropist. He is an advocate for LGBT civil rights and the environment. His foundation, the Gill Foundation, has invested more than $277 million in programs and non-profit organizations throughout the United States.
In this two part posting, I believe that I have provided you with enough information to, once again, conclude that America's politicians are for sale and the wealthy that live among us are buying...in bulk.