What are 527's? | Who Donates? | Where does the money go?
Government Regulation | Ethics
In 2000 George W. Bush opted out of matching
federal election funds and ultimately held a 2 to 1 fundraising advantage over
Al Gore (who accepted federal restrictions.) One solution to this enormous
disparity was to use 527's (who have no spending limits) to mobilize liberal support. Of the top 10 contributors to
527 organization, only one is considered conservative. These top
contributors donate up to $10 million to organizations such as MoveOn.org that were directly used to affect the Presidential Election.
These donors utilized 527 to sway politics while having the ability to
remain anonymous. We will see how conservatives are fighting 527's so
they expose the donors and offer more regulations on them.
The following is a list of top donors.
For a complete list of donors along with information about where they donated to and in what amount, go to: http://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527indivs.asp?cycle=2004
- Soros, George and Susan W. -- $24,220,000
- Lewis, Peter B. -- $23,347,220
- Bing, Stephen L. -- $15,382,555
- Sandler, Herb & Marion -- $14,009,539
- Fonda, Jane -- $13,085,750
- Perry, Bob J. & Doylene -- $11,010,000
- Pritzker, Linda -- $7,565,000
- Simmons, Harold -- $6,805,000
- Pickens, T. Boone -- $6,677,000
- Messinger, Alida R. -- $5,988,200
One donor of interest is Stephen L. Bing who's family is associated
with Stanford University and have made generous donations to it.
Labor and trade groups also make up a large donor base for these
organizations. Upon looking at the donors for "America Coming Together"
you will see a wealth of smaller organizations that donate anywhere
from $6,000 to $26,000,000. It seems odd to have organizations
donating to others, but if they all share the same values it seems
reasonable to donate to a larger cause that could support larger
Though major individual contributors are a big source of funding, the
largest source of income are from the many direct contributions through
their websites. On some 527 websites, such as MoveOn.org, anyone can make a
donation through credit card in a quick process in the comfort of their
home. If they believe in that 527's cause, it is easy to get involved.
The privacy and anonymous nature of 527 websites make it a popular
choice among supporters for making donations. Grassroots movements are
greatly enhanced with these sites, since the donors can contribute
money and read about their progress. These sites often prove instrumental in
recruiting new members to the movement. The Internet makes
social mobilization easy, since the contributors are always more or