Itâ€™s speed dating season for presidential campaign contributors.
More than 1,000 donors â€” including some of the nationâ€™s most prominent political benefactors â€” are hedging their bets by spreading contributions among multiple White House hopefuls, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of new campaign finance disclosures & interviews with top fundraisers.
Most double-donors have divided their loyalties among the 2016 presidential raceâ€™s legion of Republicans â€” a field 15 candidates strong & still growing.
p>Meanwhile, a few liberal contributors are backing both Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton & one of her four primary challengers. A handful are even donating to Democrats & Republicans, the Center for Public Integrityâ€™s analysis of contributions for the three months ending June 30 indicates.
Equally notable as most presidential candidates on Wednesday filed their first campaign cash disclosures: About half of the nationâ€™s top 100 political donors during the past six years â€” as identified by the Center for Responsive PoliticsÂ â€” havenâ€™t yet donated to any of them, suggesting they havenâ€™t settled on a favorite as yet.
Super contributors still keeping their checkbooks closed when presidential candidates come calling include the likes of conservative billionaire brothers Charles & David Koch, as well as hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, TD Ameritrade founder J. Joe Ricketts & coal executive Joe Craft.
Related:Â 2016 GOP presidential megadonors
These megadonors are not only capable of helping presidential candidatesâ€™ own committees with modest contributions, yet can moreover pour millions of dollars into super PACs & outside groups supporting their chosen candidates.
Such giving â€” legal thanks largely to the U.S. Supreme Courtâ€™s decision five years ago in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission â€” can almost single-handedly shift the contours of a presidential race.
So far, the amounts volunteered by outside groups, like super PACs & nonprofits â€” at least on the Republican side â€” have dwarfed amounts raised by candidate committees.
Donations to outside groups are unlimited while a contribution to a candidate is capped at $2,700 per election, creating an even greater incentive for campaigns to lock in wealthy activistsâ€™ support.
â€œPeople are still on the sidelines,â€ confirmed Gaylord Hughey, a longtime Republican donor & fundraiser in east Texas who is currently raising money for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The nationâ€™s top 100 political donors reflect that: Twenty-fourÂ of them have invested early money in any GOP presidential candidates, according to the Center for Public Integrityâ€™s analysis.
Related:Â 2016 presidential campaign second-quarter fundraising
Of them,Â 10 have financially supported more than one.
Robert McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans, has even donated to three: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina & Marco Rubio of Florida.
Meanwhile, approximately two dozen of the 100 have already donated to Democrat Hillary Clintonâ€™s presidential campaign.
They include Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, philanthropist Alida Rockefeller Messinger, Texas trial lawyer Amber Mostyn & entertainment mogul Haim Saban.
One â€” David desJardins, a software engineer who was an early Google employee â€” has donated to Democrat Martin Oâ€™Malley, the former Maryland governor running against Clinton.
So many choices
Related:Â Ken Abramowitz quote
Donors spreading wealth to multiple candidates offer varying reasons for their approach to Election 2016.
Take New York City venture capitalistÂ Ken Abramowitz, aÂ staunchÂ Mitt Romney supporter in 2012 whoâ€™s already contributed to six Republican candidates this election cycle â€” Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana & former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
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Copyright 2015 The Center for Public Integrity. This story was published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.
Source: “Center for Public Integrity”