The road to the presidential election is a highly expensive one, with candidates relying on millions of dollars in contributions to hold rallies, travel and buy advertising. Taking note of who is contributing to a campaign can help immensely in revealing what platforms the candidate will be emphasizing during their term. In the case of President Donald Trump, his stance on campaign contribution has changed immensely since his last presidential running in 2016.
Last election, Trump was able to win over those who were fed up with the establishment GOP by pointing out that he was putting a lot of his own funds into the race. “I’m using my own money,” Trump said during a press conference for the 2016 election. “I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”
This time around, he has accepted contributions from a whopping 80 billionaires and their spouses— that’s almost 1 in 10 of the billionaires in the U.S. A large part of the campaign funding has come from individual donors and supporting organizations. Biden has of course raised funds in a similar way, albeit from significantly different organizations and with fewer billionaires on the roster.
This is a list of the top corporate contributors to the Donald Trump 2020 Reelection Campaign, so contributions representing an individual or a coalition have been excluded.
Because it’s illegal for an organization to contribute directly to a campaign at the federal level, the contributions calculated here were revealed by tracking money from a company to a PAC (political action committee) and then to the campaign. It is also common for a corporation to contribute through an individual owner or the spouse or family member of the owner or executive. When calculating these contributions, subsidiaries and affiliated companies are counted under the parent brand.
Without further explanation, here are Trump’s top 5 corporate contributors according to data collected by OpenSecrets.org:
1. G.H. Palmer Associates – $4,005,600
GHPA is a real estate company based in Beverly Hills, California. Geoffrey Palmer has come to be known as the Trump of Los Angeles, developing opulent buildings in the “fauxtalian” style and attracting countless lawsuits. The company’s diversified portfolio includes work on residential, commercial and industrial properties. Palmer has been a longtime supporter of Trump, having been a huge contributor during his 2016 run.
2. Blackstone Group – $3,018,077
Blackstone is a highly successful private investment management firm. Based in Manhattan, New York, it has become the largest investment firm in the world during its 35 year life. Blackstone group recently made waves by hiring an ex-FDA commissioner as an advisor in the science and healthcare industry.
3. Uline Inc – $2,287,938
Uline Inc. offers shipping and business supplies. They produce office supplies, facility equipment, boxes, and any kind of bagging or storage product. The company is based in Wisconsin, where its founders, the Uihleins, recently criticized stay-at-home orders over concerns for the economy.
4. Stephens Inc – $1,512,325
Stephens is a privately held investment firm. They offer both financial services and advising. The CEO, Warren Stephens, and his brother Jackson Stephens were, interestingly, major supporters of the “Stop Trump” campaign in 2016. Warren Stephens is a known Republican who staunchly supported Mitt Romney in the past, but his opinions seem to have shifted. Stephens Inc is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
5. Intercontinental Exchange – $1,011,535
Intercontinental Exchange, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a financial firm specializing in futures contracts and futures exchanges. These exchanges are a part of both the commodity and financial markets. At the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., the company’s founder, Jeffrey Sprecher, met with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the economic impact of the pandemic.