Like with their wealth, the political power of billionaires through federal campaign contributions is also growing exponentially. This in turn helps them grow their wealth even more by pressuring elected officials to adopt tax, spending and regulatory policies that favor the wealthy and corporations.

Prior to the 2012 federal election cycle, billionaires gave a relatively small share of campaign contributions. That changed dramatically with the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision in January 2010, which enabled corporations and other outside groups to spend unlimited funds on elections.

All campaign contributions data, which is available here, is provided by, Center for Responsive Politics. Data was available through the Federal Election Commission as of May 20, 2020 and includes contributions to federal candidates and to PACs, super PACs and other organizations favoring Democrats or Republicans. Amounts have not been adjusted for inflation.

Federal Campaign Contributions from Billionaires

Election Cycles

Billionaire Contributions as % of Total Federal Campaign Contributions

Election Cycles

Billionaire Campaign Contributors Are Heavily Concentrated

Top 20 Federal Campaign Contributors Among Billionaires

Billionaires Have Become Big Givers to Both Parties

Election Cycles

  • Up through the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision during the 2010 election cycle, billionaires contributed relatively modest amounts to federal candidates and campaign organizations. Billionaires give more to Republicans during presidential election cycles, but give more to Democrats during midterm elections.
  • In the 2010 election cycle Republican candidates and organizations received about $19 million from billionaires and Democratic candidates and organizations received about $11 million.
  • Billionaires went all in for Republicans during the 2012 presidential cycle when Mitt Romney was on the ballot. They more than doubled Democratic party contributions, topping out at nearly $173 million.
  • In 2016, when Donald Trump was head of the ticket, campaign contributions from billionaires to Republicans were $371 million -- more than double the amount in 2012 -- but that was just 20% more than the Democrats’ $309 million in contributions.
  • By the 2018 mid-term election cycle, billionaires contributed slightly more to Democratic party election efforts than to Republicans -- $313 million to $278 million.