In 2020, the Lincoln Project raised more than $80 million off of its jabs at Donald Trump, including over $3 million from 24 billionaires and spouses of billionaires. Since Joe Biden took office, however, the donations have slowed down, and according to the latest federal filings, only two billionaires have continued to contribute: Walmart heiress Christy Walton, and Sequoia Capital partner Michael Moritz.
In May, Walton, who has given to candidates across the political spectrum, donated $50,000 to the Lincoln Project. Then, in October she gave another $100,000, bringing her total contributions to the group to $215,000. “I am passionate about access to voting and a government that serves the people,” she explained in an email.
Moritz contributed $500,000 in October, bringing his total contributions to $600,000, according to Federal Election Commission records that track donations through December. Before 2020, the venture capitalist had not put more than a few thousand dollars into federal politics. But during the last election cycle, he poured more than $5 million into super-PACs supporting Democrats. A native of Wales, Moritz immigrated to the United States as an adult. He began his career as a journalist for Time magazine before starting at Sequoia.
Still, most billionaires have recently shied away from the controversial super-PAC. When Trump was in office, oil heir Gordon Getty contributed $1 million, media tycoon David Geffen gave $500,000, and Providence Equity Partners CEO Jonathan Nelson handed over $100,000. None of them have donated since Biden took office, according to FEC records. That makes some sense—fundraising for all super-PACs tends to drop in off-years for federal elections. The Lincoln Project’s total donations fell to about $15 million in 2021.
The group says it’s not worried about its dwindling support from billionaires, even though it seems to mirror a drop in funding from everyday donors. “The strength of our organization has been and continues to be the individual patriotic Americans who provide the backbone of the Lincoln Project,” says Lincoln Project staff director Ryan Wiggins. “Eighty percent of our funds come from donors who give $50 or less.”
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