How much have candidates for president contributed to political causes, Steyer and Trump lead the pack

by Brian Bahouth

In a Facebook post, Tom Steyer writes why he’s running for president:

Big corporations have bought our democracy. They’ve rigged the system to boost their profits, but I’m running for president to give power back to real people – are you with me?

We decided to see if Mr. Steyer, a successful hedge fund manager and banker, flexes his considerable financial muscle in affecting the outcomes of elections in Nevada and across the nation. Then we expanded the search for all presidential candidates to include Federal Election Commission and Nevada Secretary of State records.

Contributions reported to the Federal Election Commission

Below is a list of currently declared candidates for president ranked by total amount of political donations reported to the Federal Election Commission, with notes. These tallies do not reflect donations made to state-level races and initiatives. See details on Nevada-specific contributions in a separate section below.

Since 1979, according to FEC records, Donald J Trump has made 376 political contributions totaling $1,316,000.00. The list of recipients is a fascinating mix of Democratic and Republican causes and candidates, though in recent years Trump has all but ceased contributions to Democrats.

Trump contributed $4,800.00 to Kristin Gillibrand’s 2010 campaign for US Senate in New York. He gave multiple donations to John McCain and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns for US Senate. Harry Reid received 2 campaign contributions. Joe Kennedy and Ted Kennedy received several donations along with Chuck Schumer and Anthony Weiner.

Tom Steyer as an individual is an active political patron. In records dating to 2006, Steyer has made 202 donations totaling $775,593.35 with an average donation of $3,909.00. He has funded only Democrats and related causes and parties.

In January of 2018, Steyer told reporters that he would not run for office in California but would instead spend $30 million dollars to help Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives and turn the focus on inspiring younger voters to head to the polls in what Steyer deemed 10 key states to include Nevada.

According to FEC records, Tom Steyer’s political action committee (PAC) NextGen Climate Action Fund spent nearly $64 million dollars in support of candidates and parties across the nation in 2017 and 2018. Steyer’s PAC has made nearly $7 million in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates and parties and organizations so far in 2019.

Between 2013 and today, NextGen Climate Action Fund received $234,566,788.60 in donations. Of the 592 contributions ranging from a single dollar to millions, Tom Steyer is responsible for $223,430,131 or 95 percent of the money in the fund.

John Hickenlooper has contributed $97,552.49 to federal elections since 1990. Average donation size, $1,742.00.

Kirsten Gillibrand has been a consistent contributor to campaigns and parties, all Democratic. Since 2002, Gillibrand has donated a total of $37,700.00 with an average donation of $786.00.

Andrew Yang made 106 political donations since 2003 for a total $12,294.70 with an average donation amount $116.00. He has supported only Democrats and associated parties.

Elizabeth Warren made $11,850 in political contributions since 2002.

Tulsi Gabbard donated $9,006.00 in 8 donations with an average donation of $1,126.00 since 2012.

Since 2008, Pete Buttigieg has donated $6,732.15 with an average donation of $224.00.

Kamala Harris’ political donations date to 1996, and since then Harris has contributed a total of $4,505.00.

Amy Klobuchar has made 18 political contributions since 2000 for a total of $3,960.00.

Since 2009, Cory Booker has donated $3,785.00 to a couple candidates for congress and Act Blue.

Jay Inslee has made 6 political contributions since 1991 for a total of $3,500.00.

Wayne Messam has made 3 political contributions since 2018 for a total of  $2,890.00.

Seth Moulton made a single donation of $2,400.00.

According to FEC records, since 2002, Joseph R. Biden has made one political contribution of $2,000.00 to Louisiana for American Security Political Action Committee.

Bernie Sanders made two contributions for a total of $2000.00.

Timothy Ryan has made 2 political contributions for a total of $505.00.

Beto O’Rouke has made a single political contribution for $500.00.

John Delaney contributes small amounts to candidates and state Democratic parties, less than $500.00.

In Nevada

Other than Andrew Yang who contributed $100 to the candidacy of Alexis Gonzales-Black in 2012, billionaire Steyer is the only current presidential candidate to make political donations to state-level races and initiatives in Nevada. Steyer as an individual and his PAC NextGen Climate Action Fund spent a total of $10,129,000.00 on Nevada political candidates and initiatives in 2018.

NextGen America Climate Action Fund bankrolled the successful 2018 Ballot Question 6, Nevadans for a Clean Energy Future. The PAC spent $10,024,000.00 on Ballot Question 6 in 2018. Aside from NextGen America Climate Action Fund, the Nevada Conservation League made the only other contribution to Nevadans for a Clean Energy Future with a $385,000.00 donation. The initiative to raise the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030 passed by a wide margin (59 to 41 percent) and was the first of two votes needed to enshrine the RPS goal in the state constitution. Nevada Senate Bill 358 passed during the 2019 legislative session and mandates a 50 percent RPS by 2030, and with the signature of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, Question 6 was rendered moot.

Tom Steyer the individual spent $105,000.00 on Nevada state level races in 2018. Here’s a list of recipients:

Julie Pazina (This was a very close race that Democrat Pazina lost by the narrowest of margins to Republican Keith Pickard) – $20,000.00

Nevada State Democratic Party – $15,000.00

Nelson Araujo – $10,000.00

Aaron Ford – $10,000.00

Kate Marshall – $10,000.00

Melanie Lyn Scheible – $10,000.00

Alexander Aseffa – $5,000.00

Chris Brooks – $5,000.00

Lesley E. Cohen – $5,000.00

Jason Frierson – $5,000.00

Selena Elizabeth Torres – $5,000.00

Steve Sisolak – $5,000.00

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top