Who is Financing Your Politician’s Campaign? Hint: Probably Not You!

If you have never visited OpenSecrets.org, I highly encourage you to check it out. Our politicians are required to disclose the source of their campaign contributions, and opensecrets.org summarizes this information for voters. OpenScrets.org is a non-partisan group that is simply consolidating information that each politician is required to report.

Starting with North Dakota, you will find Senator Hoven is running for re-election, and has acquired $2.3 million in contributions since his last election in 2010. Hoven’s top three contributors were Westport Properties for $27,875, Murray Energy for $27,373 and Jennmar Corp for $25,750. The top industries that contributed were oil and gas, leadership PACs and electric utilities. While Fargo and Bismarck accounted for the largest single source of most of his contributions, 68% of his total campaign contributions have come from out of state. In other words, most of his money to run his election campaign does not come from North Dakotans.

Senator Heitkamp’s last election was in 2012, and she raised $5.6 million for her campaign. Her top contributors were Motley Rice, LLC for $46,750, Council for a Livable World for $31,095 and Berkshire Hathaway for $29,500. The top industries that contributed were lawyers/law firms, leadership PACs and organizations promoting women’s issues. The single largest community to give to her campaign was the Washington DC area, with Bismarck coming in 4th on that list. With 81% of her total contributions coming from out of state, it is clear little of her campaign money came from North Dakotans.

North Dakota’s at-large representative, Kevin Cramer, has received roughly $1 million in this election cycle. His top contributors are Northrop Grumman for $12,500, Xcel Energy for $12,000 and AT&T Inc. for $11,000. The top industries contributing to his campaign are oil and gas, electric utilities, and agricultural services. The top communities giving to Cramer’s campaign were Fargo and Bismarck, and 78% of all his contributions came from within North Dakota. Most of his money to get elected actually came from North Dakota!

Moving on to South Dakota, Senator John Thune is facing election this year and has raised $9.7 million since his last election. His top contributors were Blackstone Group for $53,097, Sanford Health for $37,946 and Sinclair Broadcast Group for $31,250. The top industries who gave were the retired, insurance, and securities and investments. Sioux Falls was the single largest community contributing to Thune, but 72% of his contributions came from out of state. Rapid City came in 5th place, behind Washington DC, Los Angeles and New York. Most of Thune’s campaign money did not come from South Dakotans.

Senator Rounds’ last election was in 2014, and for that campaign he raised $5.5 million. Since Rounds began his first run for senate, his largest contributors have been Citigroup Inc. for $40,700, Avera Health Systems for $29,004 and Verizon Communications for $27,000. The top industries contributing to his campaign were the retired, securities and investments, and leadership PACs. The largest single community that contributed to Rounds was Minneapolis-St. Paul, with no single South Dakota community being recognized in the top five. His contributions were 47% in state and 53% out of state. Most of his campaign money did not come from South Dakota, although almost half of it did.

Lastly, South Dakota’s at-large representative Kristi Noem has raised $1.8 million since her last election. Her major contributors were Blackstone Group for $18,300, First Premier Bank for $16,200 and Automotive Free International Trade PAC for $15,000. The top industries contributing were insurance, the retired, and securities and investment firms. Sioux Falls and Rapid City were the top sources of her campaign contributions, and 70% of her contributions came from within South Dakota. Most of the money for her campaign actually comes from South Dakota.

And just for fun, let’s look at what OpenSecrets.org reports on the presidential candidates. Money raised for Hillary Clinton’s campaign currently totals $435 million. Her top contributors are Saban Capital Group for $10 million, Renaissance Technologies for $9.5 million and Pritzker Group for $7.8 million. We can also see that California and New York total 45% of all contributions, with New York City and Los Angeles as the most giving communities.

On the other hand, money raised for Donald Trump’s campaign currently totals $137 million. His top contributors are himself with $52 million, followed by John Powers Middleton Companies giving $150,000, Philips International Realty for $100,000 and Kushner Companies also gave $100,000. California and Texas were the top sources of his contributions, totaling 26% of all contributions. Yet, New York City and Los Angeles were also the top communities that are giving Trump.