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Here are the top 10 donors in the midterm elections

Here are the top 10 donors in the midterm elections

Wealthy Americans spent heavily this midterm to influence the races for their candidates.

The 2022 midterm election cycle saw a spending boom ahead of Election Day. OpenSecrets Research Group estimates that federal election spending is up nearly $2 billion over 2018.

Even more eye-popping, 10 wealthy individuals poured a combined $540 million into this year’s election, according to campaign finance data from OpenSecrets.

These megadonors give most of their money to outside groups such as super PACs that can raise and spend unlimited amounts on campaign ads.

About 62 percent of their donations boosted Republicans, who received far more support than Democrats from big money groups through November, a reversal from recent elections in which wealthy donors favored Democrats.

Here are the top 10 donors in the midterms, according to the latest Federal Election Commission documents collected by OpenSecrets:

George Soros

Total donations: $128.5 million

Affiliation: Democrat

Soros, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who made his fortune as a hedge fund manager, donated $128.5 million to his outside group, Democracy PAC, which then distributed millions of dollars to several super PACs supporting Democratic candidates.

His group donated $10.5 million to the Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC controlled by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.). He also gave $1 million to the J Street Action Fund, a pro-Israel group that supports Democrats, and the Planned Parenthood super PAC. If the group makes other donations, they won’t be revealed until after the election.

Soros has long been the target of right-wing attacks and conspiracy theories because of his prolific donations to Democrats. His donations to support democracy in Hungary provoked attacks by the authoritarian Prime Minister of that country, Viktor Orbán, which included anti-Semitic forms.

Richard Uihlein

Total donations: $80.7 million

Affiliation: Republican

Uihlein is the co-founder of the shipping giant Ulina, one of the largest private companies in the country. The Illinois-based billionaire has emerged as a major Republican force in recent elections, with the 2022 election cycle marking his largest donation total.

He is the largest donor to the Club for Growth, one of the most powerful conservative super PACs, giving $23.2 million. Uihlein also gave $3.5 million to a group supporting Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), continuing his longtime efforts to influence key Wisconsin races.

Kenneth Griffin

Total donations: $68.6 million

Affiliation: Republican

Griffin, CEO of Miami-based hedge fund Citadel, is one of the wealthiest megadonors, with an estimated net worth of $31 billion, according to Forbes.

He gave $18.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC controlled by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), making him the single largest donor to the group backing dozens of House GOP challengers. He gave another $10 million to the Senate Leadership Fund, which is associated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Last year, “meme stock” traders accused Citadel of colluding with trading platform Robinhood to stop trading in GameStop shares. Griffin denied that his firm was involved in the decision during a congressional hearing on the matter, and the lawsuits against Citadel were dismissed.

Jeff Yass

Total donations: $47.3 million

Affiliation: Republican

Yass is the billionaire founder of the quantitative trading firm Susquehanna International Group. He is a longtime GOP donor who supports candidates who favor minimum taxes and government regulation and is vice chairman of the board of the libertarian Cato Institute.

Yass has donated $15 million to the Freedom of Schools Fund, which represents the vast majority of the Development Club’s fundraising. The super PAC aired ads attacking Democratic candidates for school closures due to COVID-19 and “critical race theory” and entered the GOP primary.

He donated $5 million to a super PAC supporting the re-election of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and gave $1.9 million in bitcoins to Crypto Freedom PAC, a pro-crypto group that supports Senate hopeful Blake Masters of the GOP.

Timothy Mellon

Total donations: $40 million

Affiliation: Republican

Mellon, a longtime GOP megadonor, is the grandson of banking tycoon Andrew Mellon and was chairman of a trucking firm that was bought this year by freight rail giant CSX.

A Wyoming billionaire has donated $10 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund. He gave another $5 million to the Sentinel Action Fund, a super PAC aligned with the Heritage Foundation that has spent most of its money on ads attacking Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).

A major supporter of former President Trump and his efforts to tighten immigration laws, Mellon drew attention for donating $53 million to the Texas Border Wall Fund last year.

Sam Bankman-Fried

Total donations: $39.8 million

Affiliation: Democrat

Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of crypto exchange FTX, is a new addition to the list of top donors.

The billionaire crypto executive sent most of his donations — $28 million — to his Protect Our Future PAC, a super PAC focused on preventing the next pandemic that has largely supported Democrats facing progressives in the polls.

That’s just a fraction of the $1 billion total that Bankman-Fried previously said she would spend supporting Democratic candidates in the midterms and 2024 elections. He called his previous statement a “stupid quote” in interview with Politico earlier this month, arguing that more donations can only go so far in a general election.

“At one point, once you’ve given your message to the voters, there’s just not much more you can do,” Bankman-Fried said.

Fred Eichaner

Total donations: $35.8 million

Affiliation: Democrat

Eychaner, a longtime Democratic megadonor and supporter of LGBT causes, runs Newsweb Corporation, which owns several radio stations and newspapers in the Chicago area.

He is the largest donor to the majority PAC in the House Democrats. He gave $9 million to the House Majority PAC and donated another $8 million to the Senate Majority. Eychaner consistently makes the maximum allowable donation to the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic campaign committees.

Stephen Schwarzman

Total donations: $35.5 million

Affiliation: Republican

Schwarzman heads the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

The New York billionaire donated $10 million to both the Senate Leadership Fund and the Congressional Leadership Fund, providing a huge boost to Republican efforts to take control of Congress. He has been among the top 10 donors in each of the last three elections.

Peter Thiel

Total donations: $32.6 million

Affiliation: Republican

Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and currently runs data analytics firm Palantir Technologies, has emerged as a major GOP booster.

Thiel joins the list of top donors for the first time, primarily betting on two GOP Senate hopefuls. He gave $15 million to a super PAC supporting Blake Masters of Arizona, a former executive at Thiel’s firm, and another $15 million to a super PAC supporting JD Vance in Ohio.

Larry Ellison

Total donations: $31 million

Affiliation: Republican

With an estimated net worth of nearly $100 billion, according to Forbes, Ellison is by far the richest person on this list.

The chairman of Oracle Corp. donated $20 million to the Opportunity Matters Fund, a super PAC aligned with Sen. Tim Scott (R.C.) that supports GOP candidates in tough Senate races.

Updated at 2:00 p.m



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