The Washington Post

In the Loop: Here’s a rich list

Earlier this month, we published a breakdown of which political party the richest person in each state supports, discovering that a majority are Republicans.

But a question we heard after was: What about the richest Americans overall?

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

Surely there are people in New York or California who are wealthier than the richest person in say, Maine, who is worth only $800 million. Wouldn’t that be a more interesting sample?

Yes. Although, as it turns out, the top nine wealthiest Americans also are the richest in their states. According to Forbes list, the richest in the nation are:

1. Bill Gates (wealthiest in Washington state) — Democrats

2. Warren Buffett (wealthiest in Nebraska) — Democrats

3. Larry Ellison (wealthiest in California) — Republicans

4. and 5. (tied) Brothers Charles Koch (wealthiest in Kansas) and David Koch (wealthiest in New York) — Republicans

6. Sheldon Adelson (wealthiest in Nevada) — Republicans

7. Christy Walton (wealthiest in Wyoming) — mixed

8. Jim Walton (wealthiest in Arkansas) — Republicans

9. Alice Walton (wealthiest in Texas) — Republicans

But after those nine, the richest Americans do overlap where they live. And because you asked so nicely, we have broken down how the remaining top 20 richest people nationwide spend their political capital, using the database.

Although the wealthiest overall tilt Republican, the Democrats on the list have some of the deepest pockets. And several company executives play both sides, cutting checks for candidates and committees of each party.

10. S. Robson Walton (narrowly beat out for top slot in Arkansas by brother Jim) — Republicans

Walton, an heir to the Wal-Mart fortune, does not appear to have donated this cycle, but in 2012 he gave $10,000 to Secure Arizona PAC, which supports construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. He also gave $2,500 to then-Rep. Benjamin Quayle (R-Ariz.), son of former vice president Dan Quayle.

11. Michael R. Bloomberg (beat out for wealthiest in New York by David Koch) — leans toward Democrats

It’s well known that the former New York mayor is a prolific political donor. He has donated millions just this cycle — the most ($5 million) to his own Independence USA PAC. He gave $2.5 million to the Senate Majority PAC to support Democrats in the Senate. From his own pockets, he has given only to Democratic candidates this cycle, other than $10,400 to moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). He also gave $250,000 to the Mississippi Conservatives that backed the reelection bid of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

12. Larry Page (beat out in California by Ellison) — Mixed/leans toward Democrats

Almost every year since 2006, Page, who co-founded Google, gives $5,000 to the company’s political action committee. The PAC splits its campaign contributions evenly between Democrats and Republicans. But Page did make a $25,000 donation to President Obama’s first inauguration.

13. Jeffrey P. Bezos (beat out in Washington state by Gates) — Democrats

Bezos, who founded and owns The Washington Post, gives generously to his home-state senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats. He also gives $5,000 a year to Amazon’s PAC, which splits its party allegiance. He made a $2.5 million donation to support legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington in 2012.

14. Sergey Brin (beat out in Califonia by Ellison) — Democrats

It does not appear that Brin, who co-founded Google, has been politically active since giving $5,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign in 2011, and $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee the same year.

15. Mark Zuckerberg (beat out in California by Ellison) — mixed

Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook, has donated to Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), as well as Sean Eldridge, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Upstate New York who is married to Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook. And he held a fundraiser at his home in Palo Alto for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in 2013.

16. Carl Icahn (beat out in New York by Koch) — Republicans

Icahn, who founded Icahn & Co., an investment firm, supports Republicans, but this cycle has given only to Cochran. In the 2011-2012 cycle, he gave $30,800 each to the NRSC and the NRCC. He gave Mitt Romney $2,500.

17. George Soros (beat out in New York by Koch) — Democrats

Soros, the chairman of Soros Fund Management, is actively involved in Democratic politics. This cycle, he has given $1 million to the American Bridge 21st Century PAC, which supports Democratic candidates. He gave the PAC $1 million in 2012 and $1 million to Priorities USA, the super PAC that backed Obama’s reelection.

18., 19. and 20. (tied) Forrest Mars and John Mars (beat out in Wyoming by Walton), Jacqueline Mars (wealthiest in Virginia), heirs of Mars Inc., the candy company — Republicans

Forrest Mars gave $500 this cycle to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), but other than that, hasn’t given since the 1990s, when he used to donate consistently to national Republican committees and candidates. John Mars and his wife each gave $300 in 2013 to the Reclaim America PAC, which is Rubio’s leadership committee.

Farewell for now

We’re taking the rest of the week off, but don’t despair, we will be back with all your Loop fun after Labor Day.

— With Colby Itkowitz

Twitter: @KamenInTheLoop, @ColbyItkowitz

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

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