Article, FEATURED STORIES, Politics, U.S.
Biden Vs. Trump 2020 Fundraising Match Up
With a little over two and a half months left until Biden Vs Trump Election faceoff, the Republican and Democratic candidates continue to amass hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds through individual and corporate donations.
Together, President Donald Trump’s and former Vice President Joe Biden’s candidate primary committees have received at least $621.6 million and spent a total of $407.2 million.
However, this leaves out millions of dollars more in fundraising and spending by outside groups. Some of these are super PACs, which are barred from transferring funds to candidates but can spend unlimited money to advocate for or against a candidate or cause. Both candidates have raised a staggering $2.9 billion when including these outside dollars.
Here is a look at the two candidates’ committees, some prominent donors to their campaigns, and the support they’ve received from outside groups. This data is from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and OpenSecrets.org, from quarterly and monthly campaign finance reports.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN FINANCES
Trump won 2016 by the skin of his teeth, thanks in part to $325.5 million in spending by his campaign committee, Donald J. Trump for President. Despite initially saying he would self-finance his campaign, Trump shifted away from this as the 2016 campaign went on.
A mere 16 days after winning that election, Trump began spending money for the 2020 contest. Since then, his committee has received over $342.7 million. About 45% came from contributions by individuals and other Republican party committees, but the bulk of it, some $181.5 million, has come from transfers from other Trump-tied committees.
These transfers are an essential part of Trump’s campaign finances. When it comes to his wealthiest donors, many opt to contribute to these other committees rather than Donald J. Trump for President. Here are the corporations with the most contributions made by their employees to outside groups:
- GH Palmer Associates, a real estate group
- The Blackstone Group, a private equity firm
- Uline, Inc., a shipping company
You can see a full list of these companies here.
Many of the most substantial donations are given to the Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ Committee. Since January of 2019, this committee has raised a staggering $349.4 million, with $160.7 million being transferred out. There’s also the Trump Victory fund, which has raised almost $188 million. Most of this has been transferred out to other committees, namely Trump’s primary committee and the Republican National Committee (RNC).
Here are some of the biggest donors for these two committees:
- Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate, and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson
- The Saulsbury Family, founders of prominent engineering, construction, and procurement company
- Douglas Scharbauer, a business executive
- Andrew Beal, banker, and investor
- Isaac Perlmutter, former CEO of Marvel Entertainment, and his wife, Laura
- Kelcy Warren, CEO of an energy company
The Adelsons are high profile donors for Trump; Mr. Adelson publicly endorsed him in May of 2016 and has been supporting his campaign ever since. Other donors are less prominent, though their ties to particular industries may explain why they have contributed to Trump’s reelection bid. For instance, Mr. Warren’s energy company, Energy Transfer Partners, owns Sunoco and Dakota Access, LLC. Former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has ties to this organization, as well.
In terms of spending, Trump’s primary committee has doled out $237.3 million, primarily on media buys. America First Action, a super PAC, has spent $34.3 million in support of Trump. Smaller outside groups like the Committee to Defend the President and Great America PAC have collectively spent an additional $27.4 million in support of Trump. This spending is not given directly to Trump’s campaign; it is spent on his behalf.
Donald J. Trump for President has $120.6 million cash on hand.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S CAMPAIGN FINANCES
Joe Biden did not start fundraising as early as his opponent, leaving him far behind the President in this effort.
The former Vice President’s Biden for President committee has raised $321.0 million. Small individual contributions make up 42% of this amount, with the rest being more significant individual donations (over $200). The biggest distinction between this committee and Trump’s primary PAC involves transfers from other committees. Whereas Donald J. Trump for President can attribute over half of its money from committee transfers, Biden for President has no reported receipts through this measure.
This isn’t to say Biden for America is free of donations from prominent corporations or their employees. The largest single contribution to date is from Bank of America itself ($64,707) during the Democratic Primaries, while employees of Alphabet, Inc., have collectively donated over $933,000 since January 2019. Here are the groups with the most contributions made by their employees:
- Alphabet, Inc., the parent company of Google
- University of California
- The U.S. federal government
- Microsoft Corporation
- Morgan & Morgan, a law firm
You can see a full list here.
Biden has also received a great deal of support from outside committees and groups. Six entities have contributed at least $5.0 million to pro-Biden groups. Three have contributed at least $9.0 million: Democracy PAC, Sixteen Thirty Fund, and Paloma Partners. Notably, Democracy PAC is a relatively new committee; it was founded by liberal megadonor George Soros last summer. Here are the largest contributors:
- Democracy PAC
- Sixteen Thirty Fund
- Paloma Partners
- Priorities USA
- LCV Victory Fund
- Euclidean Capital
You can see the full list here.
Biden for President has spent $222.2 million, $75.6 million toward ad buys. Regarding outside spending, Unite the Country has doled out $21.5 million in independent expenditures. Priorities USA, a vital contributor to pro-Biden groups, has also spent $14.8 million in separate costs.
Biden for President has $98.8 million cash on hand.
THE RACE STAYS HOT AS NOVEMBER NEARS
By several measures, the President has a fundraising edge over Biden. His committee has raised more money and has more cash on hand; Trump also has additional committees that have dumped millions on ad buys.
Additionally, the RNC has separately raised $465.0 million, whereas the Democratic National Committee has raised only $204.1 million. While these groups have a broader focus than the candidates’ respective committees, they’ve proven to be important to presidential campaigns in the past. Trump and the RNC together raised twice as much as Biden and the DNC did in July.
However, things might be swinging in Biden’s direction, thanks to recent developments. Earlier this month, he announced his pick for Vice President: California Senator Kamala Harris. The announcement has given new life to the Biden campaign and other Democratic committees. The added enthusiasm could be the key to the left catching up to their opponents in campaign dollars.