Donors with Dollars
Political donations can open doors that are closed to most people. Big-dollar donors are often invited to state dinners at the White House and other events with the president. They also may be asked to weigh in on public policy, especially if it affects their own financial interests. And the ranks of ambassadors, advisory panels and other government jobs traditionally are filled with those who have been unusually generous during the campaign.
The following rankings by The Associated Press, based on campaign financial reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission, include contributions to super PACs, presidential campaigns, political parties and joint-fundraising committees that help President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney. Federal law limits maximum contributions to campaigns, parties and affiliated committees, but federal court rulings have stripped away such limits on super PACs. This analysis excludes secret-but-legal contributions that might have been made to nonprofit groups, which can pay for so-called issue ads that don't explicitly advocate for or against a candidate. Such groups are not required to identify their donors.
Where available, the analysis considered donations "bundled," or raised, from other wealthy donors for Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Obama periodically identifies his bundlers, although Romney has resisted repeated calls to do the same.
Here are the top fundraisers for Obama and Romney:
By JACK GILLUM and STEPHEN BRAUN, AP
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.