Quentin James, founder of The Collective PAC, whose mission is to help elect African-American candidates to office, said black donors don’t prioritize political giving, thwarting their impact on the political process.
"We've been told the biggest lie in politics, which is that the only thing that matters is your vote," James said, citing the ramifications of the Citizens United decision. "If our community wants to be fully taken into account in this political system, our dollars have to matter as much as our votes."
Take billionaire and Las Vegas Sands Corp. owner Sheldon Adelson, a fervent advocate for Israel.
Adelson, together with his wife, Miriam Adelson, contributed almost $82.6 million to mostly Republican or conservative political causes during 2015 and 2016 alone. Trump initially painted Adelson as a political puppet master, but Adelson subsequently became a top Trump backer anyway.
Adelson's reward? Trump heeded his calls to ditch the United States' nuclear agreement with Iran and move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
There's no black analogue to Adelson. Not even close.
Oakland-based real estate investor and developer Wayne Jordan is the only African-American to appear in the top 100 donors list since 2009, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The Rock the Vote founder and his wife, M. Quinn DeLaney, have together given Democratic political candidates and committees more than $6 million since 2007, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Jordan, who contributed to Obama's 2013 inaugural committee, declined requests for comment.
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The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.