Meet the political .01% — in 2 charts

at 09:00 AM ET, 08/10/2012

Much has been written already in this election about the one percent — the wealthiest sliver of Americans who, some people argue, live in a strikingly different country than the other 99 percent of the population.

When it comes to those who give to political campaigns, however, it’s not the one percent that matters but rather the .01 percent — that hundredth of one percent of Americans who gave 25 percent of all the money donated to federal campaigns in the 2010 election, according to analysis done by the Sunlight Foundation’s Lee Drutman.

Yes, you read that right. One-hundredth of one percent of the American public is responsible for one-quarter of all the cash given to political campaigns.

So, who are these people?

More than half are corporate executives of some sort. They tend to live in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. They give most of their money to party committees. In the 2010 election, each one of the one percent of the one percent gave more money to politics than the median individual income in the country.

Here’s more about them — in 2 charts that Drutman put together. (Click here for larger versions of both charts.)

You can be certain that the one percent of the one percent represents an even more outsized proportion of all donations to federal committees and candidates in the 2012 campaign due to the rise of super PACs. (We won’t know officially until mid to late 2013 when all of the campaign finance data becomes available).

Regardless, it’s an eye-opening look at the tiny universe of people who bat WAY above their weight when it comes to political giving.

 
Read what others are saying