Big MN donors spent at least $11 million in 2014

WASHINGTON - Minnesota's wealthiest campaign donors gave at least $11 million to federal candidates and political organizations in the 2014 election cycle, with the giving concentrated on Republicans despite the Gopher State's Democratic-tilt, according to a new analysis.

The report, written jointly by the Sunlight Foundation and Center for Responsive Politics, focuses on what the authors call "the political 1 percent of the 1 percent" -- a group of 31,976 donors who gave nearly $1.2 billion in political donations in 2013-2014.

Those numbers understate the extent of political giving as they only include contributions reported to the Federal Election Commission and do not include so-called 'dark money' to nonprofit groups that engage in political activity but are not required to disclose their donors.

No Minnesotans were among the top 50 donors who gave a minimum of $1.1 million.

Minnesota was 21st on the list for top contributors to political causes - exactly in line with the state's population rank. Even though Democrats hold all of the statewide elected offices and represent five of the state's eight U.S. House seats, Minnesota donors gave considerably more to conservative candidates and groups, $7 million, than the $4 million given to liberal candidates and groups.

Republican Rep. Tom Emmer received 26 percent of his campaign funds from these super donors, the most of any member of the Minnesota congressional delegation. Six percent of Democrat Rep. Collin Peterson's donations came from elite donors, the smallest amount among the delegation.

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