A new report finds that 10 of the country’s 39 biggest donors to super PACs are from New York, and wealth from the state is affecting elections across the country, according to the New York Daily News.
The analysis, by Common Cause/New York, found that New York’s 10 big donors all gave at least $1 million to super PAC groups, which have no contribution or spending limits. The top 100 New York super PAC donors also gave nearly $9 million to state and local campaigns since 2009.
Common Cause/New York Executive Director Susan Lerner told the Daily News that New York was “definitely an ATM for the rest of the country.”
Super PACs were born of a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations and unions to engage in unlimited fundraising and spending as long as it wasn’t for any one specific campaign.
According to the Daily News, in terms of New Yorkers who have given the most to super PACs, retired hedge fund manager James Simons takes the cake, with $4 million in total donations to groups that supported President Barack Obama and Democrats.
Right behind him is Simons’ former colleague at Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, who gave $3.3 million to PACs supporting Mitt Romney and Republicans.
But it’s not just national elections that the two have a stake in – Mercer has given more than $1.3 million into state and local campaigns since 2009 while Simons has given $463,050.
“When one state can send so much money and have so many wealthy people buying influence and access, it’s not helpful for our democracy,” Lerner told the Daily News.