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Big surprises in the latest OpenSecrets donor data

With the 2014 midterm election campaign in full swing, it’s time to take a quick look at the fundraising sources. The “go to” website for this data, OpenSecrets, has some very interesting data about this years fundraising.

The much-demonized Koch Industries, founded by liberal boogeyman brothers of GOP repute, doesn’t even crack the top twenty, coming in at #34 with just over $2.7 million in contributions in 2014. Coming in at the top of so-called “red donors” is hedge fund goliath Elliott Management, which came in at eighth overall on the list with just over $7 million donated. Only two other donors to conservative causes cracked the top twenty on this list, shipping supply giant Uline Industries and another hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, came in at #17 and #18, respectively.

From there, the top twenty becomes very interesting.

Almost half the total number of donors cracking the top twenty on this list are, in fact, unions. The biggest donor to liberal PACs, the Carpenter and Joiners Union, actually donated $433,000 to causes considered conservative. Of the remaining nine unions in the list, only the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), donated nothing to conservative causes. Oddly enough, the AFL-CIO, considered the standard-bearer for Big Labor that conservatives rail against, actually itself donated $62,500 to campaigns deemed “conservative” by OpenSecrets.

Also of note: the Democratic Governor’s Association out-donated their Republican counterpart by near a 4-to-1 margin, donating over $8 million and coming at fifth overall. Those wondering who came in at fourth can “start spreading the news,” as the City of New York came in at $10 million in contributions, with almost $9 million of that going to causes deemed liberal. The top two donors, both favoring liberal causes, were Fahr LLC, coming in at over $20 million donated exclusively to liberal political causes, and ActBlue, a liberal PAC specializing in grassroots internet fundraising, with over $30 million in funds.

Of the top twenty, only the National Association of Realtors appear to "play both sides," with just about $1.5 million given to both liberal and conservative causes.