A former venture capitalist with a net worth in the neighborhood of $250 million, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has struggled with the perception that he is the candidate of the one percent, particularly since the 99 Percent Movement turned America’s focus to rising income inequality and corporate greed coming from Wall Street. Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer (R), in fact, labeled Romney as such last week, stating plainly that “Mitt Romney represents the one percent.”
Romney’s presidential campaign has already received significant backing from Wall Street bankers and traders, and now, he is benefiting from the strongest backing of American billionaires. More than 10 percent of the United States 412 billionaires, in fact, have donated to the Romney campaign, according to the Washington Post:
Romney has drawn the most support from billionaires, with at least 42 donating to his campaign. Obama is not far behind, with at least 30 billionaire supporters. Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman Jr. follow with 20 and 12, respectively, according to donor rolls and the current Forbes magazine list of 412 American billionaires.
Romney’s largest billionaire donor thus far is hedge fund manager John Paulson, who has given $1 million to Restore Our Future PAC, the super PAC set up by Romney’s former advisers. Paulson, who is worth an estimated $16 billion, made millions of dollars shorting the housing market before the mortgage collapse that sparked the global financial crisis and American recession. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and developer and failed media tycoon Sam Zell are also among Romney’s largest billionaire donors.
Obama’s largest billionaire donor, industrialist Leo Blavatnik, has also donated to Romney. And while Obama has collected significant amounts of money from wealthy donors, his campaign has taken a higher percentage of small donations than it did in 2008, according to an earlier Post report.