Key findings from our "ballotmakers" project

Key findings:

  • More than three-quarters of the $266 million given by the top 50 donors to ballot measure groups nationwide ahead of the 2014 elections came from corporations or business trade groups.
  • Business interests among the top 50 donors were almost always successful, winning 96 percent of the time.
  • Four out of every five dollars that the top contributing business groups gave to ballot measure fights went to the sides trying to defeat the proposals.
  • Totaling $88 million, health care groups gave more than any industry among the top 50 donors. Casino companies were a close second, giving nearly $60 million across the nation to 2014 ballot measure fights.
  • Five of the top 50 ballot measure contributors also gave big for elective office and were among the top 50 donors to races for state-level candidates: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Sheldon Adelson, Michael Bloomberg, the California Democratic Party and the National Education Association teachers union.