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Why Do Rich Guys Love Super-PACs So Much?


The U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision unleashed the specter of unlimited corporate political donations in U.S. elections. So far, however, it's mostly rich individuals doing the donating.

Given that Citizens United didn't change the law for individuals (though an FEC ruling effectively enabling anonymous donations certainly did), it's hard to blame the court's ruling for the explosion in donations so far, as Dan Abrams more or less shouted from his cyberrooftop yesterday.

According to a study by Demos and USPIRG, 56.6 percent of the money contributed to Super-PACs in 2011 came from individuals, with an average contribution of $8,460.

READ: Auctioning Democracy: The Rise of Super PACs and the 2012 Election

For-profit businesses, the report states, accounted for 17 percent of "total itemized Super PAC fundraising since their inception." Some of those super-rich donors, like Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, have also donated from the treasuries of corporations they control, meaning the influence of individuals is actually greater.