Secret society of billionaires influencing voters

Banfield

(NewsNation) — Dark money seems to be growing in the shadows of politics.

It’s the billions of dollars pumped into elections by secret donors behind the scenes. The act itself is legal, and both parties are doing it.

In 2006, dark money donations were less than $5 million, but during the 2012 election cycle, dark money jumped to more than $300 million. And now, in the 2022 midterms, it’s expected to be in the billions.

This year, 86% of the money spent on pro-GOP ads came from dark money, and 55% of pro-Democrat ads were funded that way too.

In a series focusing on the complexities of dark money, NewsNation’s “Banfield” explored who those potential donors could be.

Michael Bloomberg

The 80-year-old former mayor of New York City is worth nearly $77 billion, making him the 12th most richest person in the world.

He uses a lot of that money to promote the democratic causes and candidates he likes best.

In 2018, Bloomberg spent nearly $57 million on ads for democratic congressional candidates. In 2020, the year he ran for president himself, he spent more than a billion dollars in just a few months. That doesn’t include the $18 million he later gave to Joe Biden’s campaign in the general election.

The Washington Post reports that Bloomberg plans to spend more than $60 million on this year’s elections with a heavy emphasis on the issues of abortion, climate change and gun control. 

Anna Massoglia, who previously worked for Bloomberg Inc., told “Banfield” that “So far, during the 2022 election cycles, Bloomberg has not been a top donor in the same way he has in prior cycles.”

Democratic donors

Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna

They’re a married couple who have quietly given tens of millions of dollars to liberal causes and candidates.  

Moskovitz was a founder of Facebook along with his Harvard roommate Mark Zuckerberg, and he’s now worth almost $8 billion.  

He’s the 83rd richest person in the world. In 2016, he and his wife donated $20 million to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In 2020, they gave Joe Biden’s campaign $40 million.  

Republican donors:

Guo Wengui

Wengui, also known as Miles Kwok, is a billionaire who fled to the United States in 2014 after Chinese authorities accused him of corruption, kidnapping, money laundering and rape. He has said the allegations are false and “politically motivated.”

The billionaire is a very close friend of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and he’s allegedly backed and promoted Trump’s most popular claims and causes.  In November of 2020, a company controlled by Wengui spent more than $400,000 on a rally in Washington to promote Trump’s claims of election fraud. The same company gave $100,000 to help reverse President Biden’s victory in Georgia.  

In 2021, Wengui helped fund and launch a social networking service aimed at conservatives called GETTR.

Rebekah Mercer

Republicans donor Rebekah Mercer is the daughter of billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.

She’s been called “the most powerful woman in GOP politics” and “the first lady of the alt-right.”

In 2016, Rebekah mercer and her father contributed $25 million dollars to republican candidates, including Donald trump.

She’s largely credited with propelling Trump to the White house. In 2020, she donated another $20 million to his re-election fund.

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