Report: The Face of Election Money in NC

Just released by the Institute for Southern Studies and sent out in Facing South email message:

Drawing on campaign finance reports, the Institute identified the 574 biggest North Carolina donors in the state's 2014 U.S. Senate race, the five most expensive U.S. House races in the state, and the 2016 presidential contest so far. Researchers then examined the racial demographics of the donors, drawing on state voter files and other sources. The findings offer a snapshot of North Carolina's "donor class":

* 95 percent of the largest North Carolina donors to key federal races in the 2014-2016 election cycles where white, while non-Hispanic whites make up 65 percent of the state population.

* These white donors accounted for 97 percent of the $4.4 million given by North Carolina’s biggest political contributors.

* Out of the 574 biggest North Carolina donors in these 2014-2016 elections, only 29 were non-white. These few donors of color contributed roughly $145,000, representing just 3 percent of all donations from big donors. Only three Latino/Hispanic individuals and four African Americans made it into the list of top-tier donors, accounting for 0.7 percent and 1.1 percent of money given, respectively...

Of the 574 big North Carolina donors identified in the analysis, the top 10 were all white men. Two white Republican businessmen who frequently give large sums to national Republican groups sit atop the list, having donated far more money than all other donors* North Carolina's top donors are disproportionately male. Two-thirds of the leading donors were men, who contributed 79 percent of the big donations, while slightly more than half of North Carolina's population and registered voters are women.

(Just in case you had any doubts to whom our elected officials owe their souls.)

"This report and other research underscore the need for meaningful reforms that curb the influence of special-interest money in elections and that not only promote “good government” but also have the potential to promote equity and a more level playing field in the democratic process."

To read the full report, click here.