A recent posting at the website for The Center for Public Integrity examines some of the recent political postings by Donald Trump and links them to the millionaires that bankrolled his campaign. While the size of his "pay-to-play" pales in comparison to that of the Clinton camp largely because most of his financial support came very late in the cycle, nonetheless, it is interesting to see that the link between money and politics is not dead in the upcoming Trump Administration.
First, let's look a listing of Donald Trump's million dollar plus donors (between April 2, 2015 and November 28, 2016):
Since we routinely discuss million dollar donations like they mean nothing and to help you put a million dollars into perspective, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income for 2015 was $55,775. This means that, before taxes, a household would have to work for 17.9 years to earn the million dollar minimum that this group of wealthy Americans donated on an individual basis.
Let's take a look at the role that some of these individuals will play in a Trump Administration and how wealthy they are in no particular order:
1.) Peter Thiel - $2.7 billion net worth (230th place in United States) - PayPal co-founder, Palantir Technologies founder and current Chairman, supported Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker, significant funder of SuperPAC Keep the Promise 1/Make American Number 1 founded by Robert Mercer (originally supported Ted Cruz), has been appointed to the implementations phase of Trump's Presidential Transition Team.
2.) Sheldon Adelson/Miriam Adelson - $31.3 billion net worth (14th place in United States) - owner of Las Vegas Sands, the largest casino company in the United States, both donors have been appointed as a finance vice chairs for Trump's inauguration team.
3.) Robert Mercer - net worth unknown - earned $125 million in 2011, $100 million in 2012 and $115 million in 2013, Co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, funded SuperPAC Keep the Promise 1/Make America Number 1 which was chaired by his daughter, Rebekah, as shown here:
Rebekah Mercer is a Vice Chair of Trump's Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee.
4.) Linda McMahon - husband's net worth $1.12 billion, wife (and former CEO) of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) owner Vincent McMahon who is the majority owner, Chairman and CEO of WWE, has been nominated to head the Small Business Administration, a cabinet-level posting.
Other Trump nominees who didn't quite make the "Million Dollar Donors Club" include the following:
1.) Andrew Puzder - net worth unknown, CEO of CKE Restaurants, donations totalled $391,350 nominated as Secretary of the Department of Labor .
2.) Betsy DeVos - her father-in-law, Richard DeVos Sr., founded Amway, net worth $5.1 billion (10th place in United States), donations from her and her spouse, Richard DeVos Jr. totalled $1,223,321 plus significant other donations from DeVos family members, has been nominated as Secretary of Education.
3.) Wilbur Ross - net worth $2.5 billion (222nd place in United States), Chairman and Chief Strategy Office for WL Ross and Company, donated $344,128, has been nominated as Secretary of Commerce.
As the Who said back in 1971 in their rock classic, Won't Get Fooled Again", "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." It's looking like it's just business as usual in Washington.