With the 2018 midterms fast approaching, wealthy donors are opening their wallets for the parties and super PACs in anticipation of a crucial election year.
A snapshot of new Federal Election Commission filings made available Tuesday evening from the parties and major super PACs showed some individual donors already have given at least seven figures each this election cycle, ranging from roughly $1 million to upward of $17 million.
Shipping magnate Richard Uihlein is among the leading individual donors in the cycle thus far, giving at least $17 million to the Republican National Committee and super PACs supporting Republican candidates, according to new Federal Election Commission filings Tuesday evening. Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer poured $15.7 million to Democratic Party committees and to the super PAC arm of his nonprofit NextGen Climate Action, which supports progressive and liberal candidates and groups.
Uihlein, chief executive of Wisconsin-based shipping company Uline, is on track to meet or exceed his 2016 political giving, which totaled $19 million, according to calculations by the Center for Responsive Politics. Among the groups he recently contributed to this cycle were Club for Growth Action, which received a $3.5 million check from him last month, and the Tea Party Patriots Fund, which got another $500,000.
Uihlein and Steyer are among a handful of wealthy donors who are ramping up their contributions this cycle, with two weeks left until the primaries officially begin — a sign of enthusiasm building among donors to help their party defend or clinch the majority in one or both chambers of Congress.
Other major donors so far in the cycle include Democratic media magnate Fred Eychaner, who gave $4 million, and Democratic hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman, who gave $3.75 million.
The RNC continued to show strength raising contributions of $200 or less, which fueled 64 percent of its $12.2 million haul in January, the new filings show.
The RNC continues to generate a steady revenue stream for President Trump's private business. Since Election Day in November 2016, the committee has spent nearly $400,000 at properties owned by the president's family. In January, the RNC spent $77,417 at Trump properties, including the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., and Trump International Hotel in Washington.
In addition, the RNC last month paid $882,796 to the consulting firm of former Trump campaign digital media director Brad Parscale, who also is consultant to the president's reelection campaign and America First Action, a super PAC supporting Trump.
This post has been updated.