Follow the Money: 81% of Bernie Sanders' Funds From Small Donors, Compared to 17% of Hillary's Haul
Last night was the deadline for the Federal Election Commission's requirements that presidential candidates report how much they raised in the second quarter of 2015. On the Republican side, this includes sizable hauls that were matched by much larger super PAC fundraising that acts as a sort of loophole to allow billionaires to give whatever they want to the political process.
For the Democrats, the two leading candidates are Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders raised about $13.7 million. When added to money from his last Senate campaign, this brings him to over $15 million. Clinton raised almost $48 million.
But it is the nature of that fundraising that is perhaps most interesting. The FEC segregates donations into two levels that can be easily deciphered: under $200, typically referred to as “small donors," and over $200. Nearly 81 percent of Sanders' donors fit into this small donor category, making him the candidate who has raised the most from these donors on either side (Ben Carson comes in second at around 80.2 percent).
Clinton raised just 17 percent of her total from small donors. Much of the rest was raised by bundlers, many of whom are lobbyists, such as Heather Podesta and Steve Elmendorf (check out the list of bundlers here).
This is a stark contrast in how the campaigns are raising money. Sanders has pledged to reject corporate Political Action Committee money and fundraise mostly from small donors. Clinton has embraced traditional Washington methods of fundraising. As of the second quarter of 2015, both are basically sticking to their plans.