Six-figure checks poured in for Joe Biden’s White House bid as his general election campaign geared up in earnest, including from some of the most prominent Democratic donors who gave the maximum amount allowed, new filings show.
Here are the most interesting takeaways we found from the newest filings made public Wednesday night, covering April through June 2020.
1. Some of the biggest Democratic donors stepped up for Biden, including billionaire investor George Soros.
Since May, Biden and the Democratic National Committee have been working to bring the party’s major donors back into the fold, after many sat out the primaries. Biden has particularly benefited from big-ticket fundraisers in June with key surrogates who appeal to such donors, including former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former president Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Among the top contributors to the two new committees raising money for Biden and the national and state Democratic parties were some of the most well-known Democratic donors.
They include: billionaire investor George Soros ($500,000), Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz ($620,600), billionaire hedge fund founder and former presidential candidate Tom Steyer ($360,000), philanthropist Susan Pritzker ($300,000), and Kathryn Murdoch ($615,000), co-founder and president of the Quadrivium Foundation and daughter-in-law of Rupert Murdoch, the conservative media mogul. Kathryn Murdoch is increasingly giving to Democrats this cycle, including $1 million to help Senate Democrats.
The two committees that were created in mid-May allow Biden to raise six-figure checks from a single donor for his campaign and national and state parties (up to $360,000 through the Biden Action Fund and up to $620,600 through the Biden Victory Fund).
2. Trump continued to draw big donors to support his reelection.
In June, Trump resumed in-person fundraisers for the first time since coronavirus-distancing restrictions went into effect, helping raise millions of dollars for Trump Victory, the fundraising committee that brings in large checks for the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. Trump is scheduled to appear at a virtual fundraiser for Trump Victory, which would charge up to $100,000 per person, according to an invite.
Among the top donors to Trump Victory in the second quarter were Marvel Entertainment chief executive Isaac Perlmutter and his wife, Laura, ($1.15 million); Robert Book, chairman of aircraft maintenance provider company Jet Support Services, and his wife, Amy, ($1.16 million); and Douglas Scharbauer, a Texas-based business executive.
The president’s family business continued to draw payments from his reelection effort, with Trump Victory spending another $401,000 at Trump properties in the second quarter, filings show.
3. Anti-Trump super PAC Lincoln Project got an injection of cash, including from well-known Democratic donors.
The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump group run by former and current Republican operatives, has garnered attention in recent months by drawing the president’s ire through its incisive ads. Donations poured in after the group’s ads went viral, and in the second quarter, the group raised $16.8 million — a dramatic increase from roughly $2 million in the previous quarter.
The super PAC is now expanding to include ground operations and is targeting Trump’s allies in the Senate who are running for reelection.
Among top new donors to the Lincoln Project were some who had given heavily to Democrats for many years: investor Stephen Mandel ($1 million), DreamWorks founder David Geffen ($100,000) and Continental Cablevision founder Amos Hostetter ($100,000).
4. Democrats are embracing donations from ‘dark money’ groups, which do not disclose their donors.
Despite a heavy emphasis during the Democratic presidential primaries on the transparency of donors and limits on the influence of wealthy donors, the groups now working to help Biden in November are accepting money from nonprofits that do not disclosure their donors, often referred to as “dark money” groups.
A key example reflected in new filings was the Sixteen Thirty Fund’s $5.7 million donation in June, which made up the bulk of the $5.9 million raised by Victory 2020, a joint fundraising committee between two pro-Biden super PACs American Bridge and Unite the Country. Of the $5.9 million raised in the second quarter, $3.6 million went to Unite the Country and $2.3 million went to American Bridge, filings show.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a Democratic nonprofit financed by undisclosed donors, has become increasingly influential on the left. The group spent $141 million supporting more than 100 left-leaning groups in 2018, according to tax filings. The group’s fundraising that year surpassed the amount of money raised by any other left-leaning political nonprofit, Politico reported.