As the first term of America’s first billionaire president comes to an end, a group of fellow billionaires have been using their funds to get him out of the office. Since July, more than 70 billionaires and their spouses have given to committees supporting former Vice President Joe Biden, with donations ranging from under $1,000 to millions of dollars, whereas at least 27 billionaires have donated to President Trump’s reelection efforts.
The top 5 richest Americans supporting Biden are worth a combined $160.4 billion and hail from California, New York and Virginia with investments in tech, cosmetics, finance and the food industry. The group is led by Connie Ballmer, who is married to the former Microsoft chief executive and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer. While Steve, who is worth $69.4 billion, has not donated directly to Biden, the couple has contributed to over half a dozen Democratic campaigns and super-PACs, including $4,300 to the Arizona Democratic Party, $7 million to Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, and $500,000 to Unite the Country, a super-PAC supporting Joe Biden.
One billionaire who has been spending the biggest bucks on getting Trump out of the White House but is not on this list of supporters because he has not directly donated to the Biden campaign, is Michael Bloomberg. After spending more than $1 billion on his failed presidential campaign, the former New York mayor shifted gears and focused his efforts on getting Biden elected through donations to pro-Biden organizations as well as his own super-PAC, Independence USA, which plans on spending $15 million on TV ads in two red states, Ohio and Texas, in the final days before the election.
Another Biden backer not included on our list is Nicole Shanahan, who is married to billionaire Google cofounder Sergey Brin, who Forbes estimates is worth $70.2 billion. In June, Shanahan gave $25,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, a joint fundraising effort between the Biden campaign and the Democratic Party. She also contributed to the campaigns of Pete Buttigieg and Marianne Williamson ahead of the Democratic primaries. Forbes has not found any contributions made by her husband.
Here are the top 5 richest backers of Joe Biden and their political contributions to federal races based on Federal Election Commission data as of October 14, 2020:
Net worth: $69.7 billion
Donations to committees and super-PACs supporting Biden: $500,000 (Unite the Country), $5,600 (Biden for President), $100,000 (Biden Victory Fund)
While Steve Ballmer himself hasn’t directly given money to the Biden campaign, his wife Connie Ballmer donated more than $100,000 to committees supporting Biden and the Democratic Party earlier this year. Ballmer retired in 2014 and bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion that same year. In the 2020 election cycle, the couple has contributed at least $7.7 million to half a dozen Democratic campaigns and super-PACs, such as the Arizona Democratic Party, Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, and Unite the Country, a super-PAC supporting Joe Biden.
Net worth: $28.9 billion
Donations to committees and super-PACs supporting Biden: $500 (Biden for President)
Mars, who inherited an estimated one-third of the $35 billion (sales) candy company Mars, donated $500 to the Biden campaign in January and made a $1,000 contribution to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s campaign in March. Mars worked at her family’s company for nearly 20 years and served on the board until 2016. Her son, Stephen Badger—who donated more than 17,000 to Democrats this election cycle, including to Joe Biden, is now the chairman of the company’s board of directors.
Net worth: $23.5 billion
Donations to committees and super-PACs supporting Biden: $2,800 (Biden for President), $978,400 (Biden Action Fund), $100,000 (Biden Victory Fund), $3 million (Unite the Country), $4 million (Priorities USA Action)
Since 2019, former hedge fund manager Simons and his wife Marilyn have donated more than $20 million to federal political causes, including $978,400 to Biden Action Fund and $4 million to Priorities USA Action, a pro-Biden super-PAC. After working as a codebreaker for the U.S. during the Vietnam War and later as a math professor, Simons founded New York-based hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, which currently manages $80 billion in assets, in 1982. Now 82 years old, he retired in 2010.
Net worth: $19.7 billion
Donations to committees and super-PACs supporting Biden: $2,800 (Biden for President)
The eldest son of makeup maven Estee Lauder, Leonard Lauder has helped Democrats across the country from Alabama to Minnesota. His wife Judith Glickman Lauder, whom he married in 2015, donated $2,800 to Biden in 2019 and made two contributions to Democrats in Maine, where she owns a home. The couple has contributed at least $115,000 to Democratic causes in this election cycle. Lauder, 83, joined his mother’s company in 1958, and later led the acquisitions of brands including MAC, Aveda and Bobbi Brown. He stepped down as CEO in 1999.
Net worth: $18.6 billion
Donations to committees and super-PACs supporting Biden: $2,800 (Biden for President), $710,600 (Biden Victory Fund)
One of the supporters of the Biden-Harris ticket, Laurene Powell Jobs has backed both the Vice President and the California senator. (“Joe Biden you made a great choice!” she tweeted after Biden tapped Harris in August.) Powell Jobs, who has contributed more than $1.5 million to Democratic causes since 2019, inherited billions of dollars in Apple and Disney stock from her late husband and Apple cofounder, Steve Jobs. In 2016, she launched her Emerson Collective Foundation with a gift of $1.2 billion in mostly Disney stock.