New video from Issue One highlights the alarming, outsized influence of ultra-wealthy donors

Media Contact

Cory Combs

Director of Media Relations

Issue One published a new video today to highlight the alarming, outsized influence that a handful of ultra-wealthy donors have in the post-Citizens United era. The video raises awareness of the need for reforms that help make our political system more responsive to the needs of all Americans, and comes at a time when debate in Washington about sweeping political reform is heating up. 

As Issue One first noted earlier this year in our “Outsized Influence” report — which was covered by the New York Times, CNN, and ABC News, among other media outlets — just 12 megadonors, at least eight of whom are billionaires, accounted for about $1 of every $13 in politics between January 2009 and December 2020 — a total of $3.4 billion.

Who are these people? Some names you know. Some you don’t. All have outsized influence. 

Their ranks include billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, billionaire former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer of California, and billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who died in January 2021, and his wife Miriam Adelson.

“This is a wake up call for everyone — Democrats, Republicans, and independents,” implores Issue One’s new video. “Too few people have too much influence. This is why we need to fix our broken political system. Democracy should work for everyone.”

Said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman: “This research shows the alarming influence of just a handful of wealthy megadonors in our political system. Our government can’t be responsive to all Americans if our elected officials are beholden to the elite donor class.”

Issue: Megadonors