Key findings from our 'kingmakers' project

Key findings:

  • Meet the kingmakers: nearly 85 percent of state-level candidates backed directly by the top 50 donors won their 2014 elections, compared with only 52 percent for typical political contributors.
  • More than 40 percent of the $440 million from the 2014 election cycle’s top 50 donors went to independent groups, more than to candidates or political parties.
  • A Center analysis shows multiple donation paths, such as giving to independent groups not directly tied to candidates or parties, allowed top political donors to surpass campaign contribution limits.
  • Most of the money from 2014’s top election donor, the Republican Governors Association, went to political groups doling out funds to state races.
  • Among the five largest contributors to the Republican Governors Association ahead of the 2014 elections: Casino giant Sheldon Adelson, David Koch and an investment firm created by the founder of 5-Hour Energy drink.