When Mayor Pete raised an impressive $7 million in his first quarter, I was curious about how he raised so much money. 64 percent of his donations are under $200; donors who give less than that we usually call small donors. However, donations are not the same thing as donors because donors sometimes give more than once (this is one reason why campaigns ask you to donate repeatedly, or donate just $1 to inflate their number of donors).
I was looking through Mayor Pete’s FEC filings and found some interesting big donors:
- Steve Elmendorf: The Goldman Sachs lobbyist has been tapped to bundle for Mayor Pete. He gave $2,800 to the Indiana mayor.
- Shankar Duraiswamy: Duraiswamy is a lawyer at Covington & Burling LLP who was involved in the defense of Chiquita after it was being sued in relation to extortion payments made by a former subsidiary to armed groups in Colombia. He gave $2,800 to Mayor Pete.
- Lots and lots of financial industry employees: Many of the biggest donors to Mayor Pete come from investment firms, like Mary Jo Schuler of Wicklow Capital in Illinois and Yannev Sussia in New Jersey.
Some candidates are prohibiting donations from lobbyists or at least corporate lobbyists and many candidates are prohibiting donations from corporate PACs (although it’s not clear what is a corporate PAC and what isn’t). Ultimately the best way to keep big donors from having disproportionate impact would be to have a campaign that is mostly small donors. Any candidate could, for instance, propose a lifetime cap of $200 on what any individual donor is allowed to give to them, however no candidate has taken that step.