Bernie Sanders

Sanders Campaign Press Release - Small Donors Fuel Sanders Campaign, Clinton Bankrolled by Wealthy

February 02, 2016

Bernie SandersKEENE, N.H. – Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign is funded by small donors who gave an average of about $29 each in the past year while Hillary Clinton has relied on the wealthy to bankroll her presidential bid, new financial disclosure reports reveal.

The latest round of campaign finance reports filed over the weekend with the Federal Election Commission show the stark differences between the two campaigns.

In perhaps the major contrast, the disclosure forms show that only 649 of Sanders' more than 1.3 million backers have donated the $2,700 maximum that an individual may give to a candidate to help fund campaigns in primary elections and caucus states. Only 2.3 percent of Sanders' total money raised comes from maxed-out donors. With far fewer total donors, Clinton has tapped out more than 23,000 of her donors who have given to her campaign committee all that the law allows for the primary election and may donate no more. Her maxed-out donors provided nearly 60 percent of the primary money raised for her campaign committee.

Another way to gauge support is to examine donations of $200 or more, the legal threshold for which donations must be itemized in FEC reports. In Clinton's case, 83 percent of her money came from donors who gave more than $200. In contrast, only 26 percent of the money raised for Sanders came from donors above the $200 threshold.

Tallying contributions from small donors is another yardstick that campaign finance analysts examine. Sanders reported more than $23.4 million in fourth quarter donations of less than $200. That's out of a total $33.6 million raised in the last quarter of the year. Despite an aggressive online campaign designed to jack up the number of her small donors, Clinton's total take for her campaign committee in the last three months of 2015 in un-itemized donations totaled only $5.7 million of her more than $38 million total haul for the quarter.

Sanders' small-dollar donors continue to be the financial backbone of his campaign. Last month alone, nearly $21 million was donated to him. The money came in the form of 812,012 separate contributions averaging only $26 apiece. That brought the total number of donations since Sanders launched his campaign last April 30 to more than 3.3 million, a record for any presidential candidate at that point in a campaign.

Clinton has been criticized for her heavy reliance on donations from Wall Street and other special interests. For example, she left the campaign trail in Iowa one day last week to hold a fundraiser in Philadelphia sponsored by leading executives of a large investment firm. And The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the super PAC backing Clinton amassed $15 million of the $25 million it raised in the second half of last year from Wall Street sources.

To read Sanders' FEC report, click here.

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Bernie Sanders, Sanders Campaign Press Release - Small Donors Fuel Sanders Campaign, Clinton Bankrolled by Wealthy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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