There is all manner of money in politics, but sometimes the shape of it is more interesting than the amount. Thus far Senator By Appointment Only™ Dean Heller (R-NV) has amassed $6,559,958 and presumably some change, has spent $2,110,154, and has $4,449,806 on hand [OpenSecrets] — surely sufficient to run a well oiled campaign. However, the “shape of the contributions” are more intriguing than the amount.
$3,192,003 or 49% comes from large individual contributions (over $200.00); $391,217 (6%) comes from small donors. $1,608,734, or 25% of his receipts to date come from PACS. $379,718 comes from Leadership PACs, political action committees of, by, and for politicians. In fact, if we count Leadership PACs as a industry, they comprise the largest single sector contributing to Senator Heller’s campaign. Casinos contributed $71,000; Securities and Investment interests contributed $63,000; and, real estate interests contributed $13,500. [OpenSecrets]
If we look at the Leadership PACs which donated $10,000 to Senator Heller’s endeavors we find the Alamo PAC (Cornyn TX), Bluegrass Committee (McConnell KY), CPAT PAC (Toomey PA), Common Values PAC (Barrasso WY), Country First (McCain AZ), Louisiana Reform PAC (Vitter PAC), Majority Committee PAC (K.McCarthy CA), Making Business Excel PAC (Enzi, WY), Next Century Fund (Burr NC), Freedom Fund (Crapo ID), Freedom Project (J. Boehner OH), Fund for a Conservative Future (Inhofe OK), Heartland Values PAC (Thune SD), Orrin PAC (Hatch UT), Promoting Our Republican Team (Portman, OH), Prosperity PAC (affiliation unclear), Rely On Your Beliefs (Blunt MO), Republican Majority Fund (Chambliss GA), Rock City PAC (Corker TN), Senate Majority Fund (Kyl AZ), Senate Victory Fund (Cochran MS), TAC PAC (Coburn OK), Tallatchee Creek PAC (Sessions AL), and Tenn PAC (Alexander TN).
The shape of the funding becomes a bit more clean when we drill down to see who donated to the Leadership PACs which in turn donated to Senator Heller. For example, the American Bankers Association has been quite generous to several of the Leadership PACs supporting Senator Heller’s campaign:
While the American Bankers Association doesn’t appear on the list of Senator Heller’s Top Twenty donors, this obviously doesn’t mean that some of the funds contributed to the Leadership PACs listed in the graphic above didn’t find a way into Senator Heller’s campaign chest.
Goldman Sachs has contributed $19,000 to Senator Heller’s election efforts as of September 3, 2012. However, as in the case of the American Bankers Association donations, Goldman Sachs money also helped fill the campaign chests of Leadership PACs which, in turn, donated to Senator Heller’s campaign.
Thus, corporations can multiply their monetary influence by contributing to the candidates, such as Senator Heller, and by donating to the Leadership PACs upon whom newly appointed Senators, such as Senator Heller, depend.
Other corporate interests are well represented in the revenue columns of GOP Leadership PACs which have donated to Senator Heller:
Altria Group (tobacco, tobacco products), BlueCross/Blue Shield (health insurance), Abbott Laboratories (Pharmaceuticals), Koch Industries (conglomerate), Pfizer (Pharmaceuticals), and Honeywell International (aerospace, military, consumer products).
So, Senator Heller “gets by with a little help from his friends,” some of whom have deep pockets indeed.