From Sunlight Foundation: The One Percent of the One Percent

Our friends at the Sunlight Foundation came out with a new report yesterday: The One Percent of the One Percent, which shows that in the 2010 election cycle an overwhelming percentage of campaign contributions to candidates and political parties come from the upper 1% of income earners.

Here are some key findings in the report:  

  • In the 2010 election cycle, the average One Percent of One Percenter spent $28,913, more than the median individual income of $26,364.
  • In the 2010 election cycle, 74 federally registered candidates relied on The One Percent of the One Percent for at least half of all of their itemized (over $200) contributions.
  • In the 2010 election cycle, the average congressional campaign got 84% of its money from donations of $200 or more.
  • Of the 10 companies with the most representation in The One Percent of the One Percent in the 2010 election cycle six are financial companies.
  • Typically lawyers and lobbyists make up between 15 and 20% of The One Percent of the One Percent.
  • The community of donors giving more than $10,000 (in 2010 dollars) has more than quadrupled, from 6,456 in 1990 to 26,783 in 2010. In 1990, they accounted for 28.1% of all itemized (over $200) donations. By 2010, that number had risen to 44.1%.
  • There are approximately 312 million people living in the United States. Yet just 26,783 (less than one in ten thousand) accounted for 24.3% of all political contributions in the 2010 election cycle.

This research demonstrates that not only do the top 1% of earners control most of our country's wealth, they also control an alarming amount of our poltical spending. It's no wonder we've seen the rise of the Occupy movement, who are tired are Congress looking out for their big donors, and not ordinary Americans who are shut out of our political process because they can't afford to open their wallets.