WASHINGTON — A new oligarchic era of American politics came into full view on Friday, as super PACs disclosed fundraising details showing billionaires bankrolling the 2016 presidential race to an unprecedented degree.
The unlimited-money super PACs account for one-third of all federal election funds raised in the first half of 2015 — up from 4 percent at this time in the last presidential election. Three-quarters of all super PAC money came from more than 500 wealthy donors, corporations and unions in contributions above $100,000. More than half the money in the presidential race so far — to super PACs and to campaigns — came from donors who have given at least $100,000.
For the first time in more than a century, the majority of funding for a presidential election is coming in six-figure or larger checks from corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The presidential campaigns, limited to a maximum of $5,400 from a single donor, raised a combined $128 million. Super PACs supporting those candidates pulled in $260 million, with $208 million from those giving $100,000 or more.