The Top 50 Political Donors of 2000

As money continues to pour into this year’s political races at a record pace, we’ve been busy updating the Mother Jones 400, our list of the most generous individual donors in federal elections.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Which wealthy contributors are giving the most to Al Gore and George W. Bush? As money continues to pour into this year’s presidential and congressional races at a record pace, the staff at Mother Jones magazine has been busy preparing the next Mother Jones 400, our biannual list of the top campaign donors in federal elections. Our complete report on the biggest givers — and what they’re getting in return — will appear after the election.

With the campaign entering its final days, we offer this preview of the 50 contributors currently at the top of the list, compiled by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. So far, these 50 individuals and their immediate families have given nearly $24 million to federal candidates and political parties in the 1999-2000 election cycle. That’s almost twice what the top 50 donors gave during the entire previous cycle.

Many of the biggest contributors this year, like Peter Buttenwieser and Carl Lindner, also topped the list in previous years. To see where these veteran donors and others on the Mother Jones 50 ranked in the past, click on their names in the list below.

The MoJo 50 (Key)

Rank Donor Total Contributions Party Organization Last Election
1 Peter Buttenwieser & Terry Marek $1,119,700 Buttenwieser & Associates 2
2 S. Daniel & Ewa Abraham $1,108,500 Slim-Fast Foods/Thompson Medical 6
3 Carl H. & Edyth Lindner $786,000 American Financial Group 4
4 Bernard L. & Irene Schwartz $762,000 Loral Space & Communications 3
5 Richard T. & Joyce Farmer $722,500 Cintas Corp 32
6 Peter G. & Georgia Angelos $666,000 Angelos Law Offices/Baltimore Orioles 54
7 Sam & Marilyn Fox $625,700 Harbour Group Ltd 36
8 Finn & Barbara Caspersen $602,250 Knickerbocker Mgmt/Westby Management N/A
9 Ian M. & Annette P. Cumming $588,300 Leucadia National Corp/Cumming Fdtn 18
10 Fred Eychaner $561,000 Newsweb Corp 15
11 Thomas E. & Paula McInerney $544,500 Welsh, Carson et al 26
12 Alex G. & Faye Spanos $540,500 AG Spanos Companies N/A
13 John W. & Marlene Childs $535,000 JW Childs Associates 5
14 Lawrence & Susan Kadish $532,900 First Fiscal Fund 22
15 Michael J. & Elizabeth Perik $531,000 Learning Co N/A
16 Thomas F. & Barbara Stephenson $528,200 Sequoia Capital N/A
17 Meyer A. & Patricia N. Berman $450,250 MA Berman Co 41
18 David S. & Sylvia L. Steiner $440,400 Steiner Equities Group 10
19 A. Jerrold & Margaret Perenchio $438,500 Chartwell Partners 190
20 Samuel J. & Ronnie F. Heyman $435,970 GAF Corp N/A
21 Charles W. & Cantley M. Ergen $427,250 EchoStar Communications N/A
22 Vance K. & Darin Beth Opperman $425,250 Key Investment Inc N/A
23 Jon S. & Joanne D. Corzine $423,575 US Senate Candidate/Land Developer 13
24 Dr. John M. & Josephine Templeton $421,250 John Templeton Foundation 220
25 Max M. & Marjorie Fisher $404,500 Fisher Group 313
26 Marc L. Andreessen $398,000 Loudcloud Inc N/A
27 Charles R. & Helen O. Schwab $390,500 Charles Schwab & Co N/A
28 Walter H. & Lydia Shorenstein $386,148 Shorenstein Co 12
29 David H. & Julia F. Koch $378,500 Koch Industries 21
30 Bren & Melvin Simon $375,350 Simon Property Group/MBS Inc 205
31 James V. Kimsey $371,350 America Online N/A
32 Philip Levine $371,000 Onboard Media N/A
33 Marc & Jane Nathanson $367,500 Charter Communications, Inc. 321
34 John A. & Virginia M. Kaneb $366,600 Gulf Oil 363
35 John & Marcia Price $361,550 JP Realty N/A
36 Kenneth L. & Linda P. Lay $361,050 Enron Corp 188
37 Larry & Kathy Addington $360,500 AEI Resources N/A
38 Robert & Ginger Green $358,500 Investor 129
39 David J. Shimmon $352,000 Kinetics Group N/A
40 Louis & Ruth Weisbach $349,605 HALO Branded Solutions 14
41 Cary C. Patterson $335,000 Nix, Patterson & Roach 137
42 John W. & Rosemary Galbraith $330,250 Templeton Emerging Market Fund 53
43 C. Michael & Elizabeth Kojaian $329,850 Kojaian Companies 306
44 Norman J. & Mary Pattiz $328,500 Westwood One N/A
45 Charles J. Wyly, Jr. $327,113 Investor N/A
46 Ron & Janet Burkle $327,000 Yucaipa Companies 80
47 Jack L. & Viki Thompson $323,500 Retired/JD Edwards N/A
48 Darlyn & Charles N. Davenport $322,000 SeaWest Windpower N/A
49 Robert J. Hiler $319,500 Retired/Hiler Industries 23
50 John F. & Joan Hotchkis $316,550 Ramajal LLC N/A

Key to the Mother Jones 50 List
Gives 75 percent or more to Democrats
Gives 75 percent or more to Republicans
Gives to both Democrats and Republicans


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend