By Bailey Chenevert
Historically, politicians haven’t been shy about raising money from another pocket of influential Americans – corporate executives. Leading into the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times reported that fewer than 400 families in the U.S. made up almost half of the donations to presidential candidates on both sides.
2020 is shaping up to be no different with the wealthy executives donating to get a part of the action. Even though this data is made publicly available by the Federal Election Commission, it’s often overlooked by the Average American. Below is just a small sampling of CEOs behind familiar brands that are putting a chunk of change behind the two major-party Presidential candidates in the 2020 election.
Tilman Fertitta – CEO of Landry’s
$70,200 to the Trump Victory Fund as recently as February 2020
Tilman Fertitta is one of many billionaires spending big on President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. Fertitta is the CEO of Landry’s, one of the largest restaurant corporations in the country that oversees restaurant chains such as the Rainforest Café, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and Saltgrass Steakhouse. He donated $35,000 to the Trump Victory Fund on two separate occasions. His contributions to Trump’s presidential campaigns total $70,200.
Sheldon Adelson – founder and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation
$586,200 to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Trump Victory Fund as recently as February 2020
Sheldon Adelson is the founder and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and Venetian Macao Limited, the parent company of the famous Venetian Resort Hotel Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. In addition, he owns newspapers Israel Hayom, Makor Rishon and Las Vegas Review-Journal. Adelson has a history of donating to Republican candidates and played a major role in financing candidates in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections. Not showing any signs of slowing down his political contributions, Adelson donated $580,600 to the Trump Victory Fund in February 2020, as well as an additional $5,600 to the Donald J. Trump for President PAC.
Isaac Perlmutter – chairman and former CEO of Marvel Studios
$935,600 to the Trump Victory Fund as recently as April 2020
Isaac Perlmutter, chairman and former CEO of Marvel Studios, has donated a total of $935,600 to the Trump Victory Fund. Although he officially stopped overseeing the development of Marvel Studios in 2015, various executives in the entertainment company reported to him until 2019. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Perlmutter has close ties with Donald Trump as a “clubgoer,” a term coined by the New York Times to describe a group of ~20 people that informally advise Trump on government matters and are frequent guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Lorenzo Fertitta – CEO of the Zuffa, parent entity of UFC, director of Red Rock Resorts, Inc.
$366,200 to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Trump Victory Fund as recently as October 2019
Another big donor in the entertainment industry is Lorenzo Fertitta, CEO of The Zuffa, a mixed martial arts promotion company that oversees the UFC. He previously served as the CEO of UFC, where he oversaw a seven-year, multimillion dollar deal between UFC and the Fox Broadcasting Company. Fertitta has donated over $2,000,000 to political campaigns – $360,600 of which were donated to the Trump Victory Fund in 2019.
Daniel Lubetzky – CEO of KIND snack bar
$83,600 to the Biden Victory Fund and Biden for President as recently as June 2020
One of the many executives playing a large role in financing Joe Biden’s campaign is Daniel Lubetzky, the founder and CEO of the fastest growing snack company in the U.S., Kind LLC. He also co-founded the luxury fashion company Maiyet. Lubetzky has given a total of $351,100 to political fundraising committees since 2016, with his most recent donation going to the Biden Victory Fund. Since 2019, Lubetzky has donated $83,600 to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Meg Whitman – CEO of Quibi
$508,400 to the Biden Victory Fund and Biden for President as recently as June 2020
Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi and board member of Proctor & Gamble and Dropbox, has donated $508,400 to the Biden Victory and Biden for President PACs since September 2019. Before endorsing Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Whitman’s political involvements were largely Republican. She was a member of Sen. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns in both 2008 and 2012, and ran for governor of California as a Republican. However, for the past year, Whitman’s contributions have been made exclusively to Democratic campaigns.
Reed Hastings – co-founder, chairman, and Co-CEO of Netflix
$2,800 to Biden For President as recently as March 2020 (but an additional $500k towards electing Democratic candidates to the U.S. Senate)
Reed Hastings is a co-founder and CEO of Netflix, as well as a longtime political activist that includes time as president of the California State Board of Education. Following his endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Hastings has continued to support democratic politicians. In June 2020, he donated $2,800 to the Biden for President PAC in addition to $500,000 to the Senate Majority Super PAC, which was created to help build a democratic majority in the US Senate.
Reid Hoffman – co founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn
$5,600 to the Biden Victory Fund and Biden for President as recently as May 2020 (but an additional $755k to other Democratic fundraisers)
Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of the social networking site LinkedIn, is somewhat of an outspoken figure in the world of politics. The billionaire gained notoriety in 2016 for creating a card game that mocks President Trump, Trumped Up Cards. To date, Hoffman has donated $755,495 to democratic fundraisers. He recently donated $5,600 to Biden’s presidential campaign.
Bailey Chenevert is a freelance journalist and guest editorial contributor for Cluey Consumer. As a recent 2020 college graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Bailey supplemented her studies as both a research assistant and a student editor at La Louisiane. Bailey is passionate about impartial reporting on consumerism and the impacts that fashion brands have on our modern world.