Campaign Finance


      Viveca Novak: It's pretty much The Wild West out there when it comes to the outside spending.

      Viveca Novak tracks political money for the Center for Responsive Politics. She's taking us through the murky world of outside spending by dark money groups and super PACs that often shield donors' identities.

      Viveca Novak: If you're an average citizen, there's a couple of different ways to give money to politics. One is to give directly to candidates, but that money is very limited, there are caps on what you can give. There's also what we call outside spending groups, this is where you've heard the term super PAC. And these groups can spend any amount of money, they can take in any amount of money, people can give millions of dollars, individuals can to a super PAC.

      PAC Ad: How can we trust the Clinton's to fight for us?

      That's the money that fuels negative ads, organized smears, opposition research, news media outreach and social media attacks.

      PAC Ad: So, when I see the hate that Donald Trump has brought to his campaign as President, it terrifies me.

      Donald Trump (PAC Ad): I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell ya. I don't know what I said, I don't remember. In Florida they say she's gonna put ads on 50-to-one and I think we're gonna win. I think we're gonna win.

      Viveca Novak: There's a super PAC called Priorities USA Action that is the super PAC backing Hillary Clinton, not that other super PACs aren't helping as well but this one is totally devoted to getting her elected. Priorities USA Action has raised a lot of money. Donald Trump has a couple of super PACs that are backing him. One problem has been it's never been clear which one is the favored super PAC so donors kind of don't know who to give to.

      The largest pro-Clinton super PAC has raised nearly $176 million compared to the largest pro-Trump super PAC, which has raised about $16 million.

      Sharyl Attkisson: When we look at outside spending, where is his support coming from, who is giving to his outside spending groups?

      Viveca Novak: So Trump's outside spending donors look a lot like his campaign donors: retired people, real estate, miscellaneous business.

      But Wall Street firms clearly favor Clinton, giving her 100 times as much outside money, more than $78 million compared to Trump's less than one million.

      Viveca Novak: So Wall Street really comes out on top. Besides Wall Street, you have entertainment, people from Hollywood. You also have lawyers again.

      So who are the personalities with the deepest pockets? Hedge fund billionaires.

      Viveca Novak: Clinton, when you factor in the super PAC, again, uh her top donors have been Don Sussman who is a financier, James Simons who is with a hedge fund and George Soros who everyone has heard of.

      Sharyl Attkisson: The last time we looked at the numbers, there were no hedge fund billionaires supporting Donald Trump. Now that he is the last man standing in the Republican Party, that's changed.

      Viveca Novak: Right. A lot of the hedge fund billionaires have not come aboard with Trump but Robert Mercer is one who did.

      Sharyl Attkisson: And he used to support Cruz.

      Viveca Novak: He supported Ted Cruz until he decided to come over to Trump. Donald Trump's biggest donors have been Robert Mercer who is actually with the same hedge fund that James Simons is with, the Democrat. Geoff Palmer who is a real estate developer in California, who many people haven't heard of.

      Add it all up and Clinton has far and away more big donor support. $20 million from Paloma Partners Hedge Fund. $14 million from Renaissance Technologies' Jim Simons. More than $12 million from hedge fund giant the Pritzker Group and over $10 million each from hedge funds: Soros Fund Management and Saban Capital. 20 donors have given Clinton more than $2 million each.

      Trump has only three donors in that category: $15.5 million from Renaissance Technology's Robert Mercer. About $2 million from real estate firm GH Palmer and Associates. And $2 million from the Marcus Foundation, a charity started by Home Depot's co-founder.

      One reason Trump's numbers aren't bigger is because some conservative billionaires are sitting on the sidelines this year.

      Sharyl Attkisson: If some big Republican donors are not contributing to the candidate this year, to Donald Trump, are they going anywhere or are they just saving their money?

      Viveca Novak: I think they're just saving their money. Some of them have just outright said that they're just not gonna play very much this year. The Koch brothers and their whole network, for instance, is really staying out of the presidential race. David and Charles Koch are industrialists from the Midwest. They're billionaires. They have been active in Republican politics for a very long time. And, they tend to be more mainstream Republican than uh than pro-Trump for instance, who is very much not mainstream Republican.

      Sharyl Attkisson: So they're not helping him out?

      Viveca Novak: They're not helping him out.

      On the other hand, retirees are helping out both campaigns in a major way. They've given Clinton more than $60 million dollars and are Trump's top donor group at about $19.5 million.

      Viveca Novak: After retired people for Clinton, she relies on lawyers, people from the education field, people who work for universities who generally tend to be democratic, true to stereotype. For Donald Trump's campaign, he relies more on business that we call miscellaneous business: the chemical industry, restaurants, odds and ends that don't fit into any other category, and then real estate is number three.

      But Trump's biggest donor by far is Trump.

      Donald Trump (Debate 2): So Why aren't you putting money into your own campaign? I'm curious.

      Moderator (Debate 2): Thank you very much we're going to get onto one more question.

      So far, Trump has put more than $66 million of his own money into his campaign.

      Donald Trump: I'm putting up 100 million, it's gonna end up being more than that.

      Sharyl Attkisson: If Donald Trump is raising less than other republican candidates, but at this point anyway neck and neck with the democrat candidate, what does that tell us?

      Viveca Novak: It tells us that he's gotten a lot of free publicity among other things.

      Sean Hannity: Mr. Trump good to see you.

      Viveca Novak: And he has said that he doesn't need as much money because he doesn't need to buy as much television. People, you know, the media just covers Trump so much that he's everywhere you look and there's some truth to that, he may not need as much money.

      The grand totals reported to date look like this: Clinton supporters have given more than twice as much money overall: $687 million to Trump's $306 million. And, both candidates can brag of getting a lot of that money from the coveted small donor.

      Hillary Clinton: I'm very proud of the fact that we have more than 750,000 donors, and the vast majority of them are giving small contributions.

      Viveca Novak: She has raised about 19-percent of her funds from small donors, a greater amount of money but a smaller share of her funds than Donald Trump his share of small donors funding is about 43-percent, which is pretty good.

      Donald Trump: I'm also getting tremendous amounts of money from people like 61 dollars apiece a record set, no Republican's ever done that no Republican.

      Sharyl Attkisson: How do the small donors that Donald Trump has compare to other candidates that you've seen in the past? whether it's Bernie Sanders or previous campaigns.

      Viveca Novak: Bernie Sanders got a lot of funding from small donors; his number was higher than Trump's. Obama was always very successful with small donors. So this isn't unprecedented, it just shows that in part some of the larger donors may be staying away from this candidate, but it's also you know he's hitting a chord with some real folks out there.