Small-time political campaign donors are getting squashed by the big donors, according to a new study. In Illinois’ congressional primaries this year, 64 percent of campaign contributions came from donors who gave $1,000 or more, and in the most recent fund-raising quarter in the governor’s race, 85 percent of the money came from the big donors, and one donor outspent 3,208 small donors, according to findings published by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group.
Click here for summary
“It’s becoming increasingly and blindingly clear that small donors’ voices are being drowned out by a small cadre of big donors,” says Abe Scarr, director of the Illinois PIRG Education Fund. He says even donors in the low thousands are feeling disenfranchised by donors giving hundreds of thousands. The findings take into account only individual contributions directly to campaigns, so contributions by corporations, unions, and political funds are not counted, nor are the contributions of $20.1 million so far by Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner to his effort. Also, money going into super PACs, which depend even more heavily on a small number of large donations, isn’t counted.
The single donor who contributed so much in the governor’s race is Ken Griffin, a Rauner donor. Proposed remedies include public funding for candidates who collect many small donations and no big ones.