A sketch of the Stealthy Wealthy


The nickname “Stealthy Wealthy” is Sunlight’s shorthand for the billionaires who seek to influence elections through large donation and whose investments in that direction can be hard to trace. While many of these magnates have been giving to politicans for years, the legal developments following the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United have opened new avenues for unlimited giving.

Here are some of the donors we’ve featured so far in our continuing Stealthy Wealthy series.


Dr. W.E. Bosarge Jr.

Texas-based W.E. Bosarge has made a fortune in the high-frequency trading industry and has used his considerable wealth to influence elections in both Texas and Maine, his birthplace. He contributed $3.2 million to federal and state committees in the 2012 election cycle. 



Donald Sussman

Sucessful hedge fund manager Donald Sussman could also be known as Mr. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine. He has given his bride and other Democrats over $12 million. 



Sheldon Adelson

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson was the 2012 election’s most copious campaign contributor. He and hiw wife Miriam were the major underwriters behind a super PAC that supported the failed presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich, then turned their considerable largesse to helping elect Mitt Romney to the White House and keeping Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, in the speakership. 



Jeffrey Katzenberg

Jeffrey Katzenberg is the CEO of Dreamworks Animation and a major Democratic donor, giving large bounties to the Obama campaign and Priorities USA action super PAC. 



Franklin L. Haney

Longtime Democratic donor Franklin L. Haney build his business around serving as Uncle Sam’s landlord. He survived  GOP congressional charges in the 1990s that he paid contingency fees to secure a lucrative government contract and a trial on campaign finance irregulaties, on which was aquitted. A longtime backer of fellow Tennessean Al Gore and more recently has bcome a generous contributor to President Barack Obama. 


Jerry Perenchio

Jerry Perenchio, the former chairman of Univision, and his wife Margaret, served as major underwriters of American Crossroads, a Republican-leaning super PAC, and Restore America, the super PAC that backed Mitt Romney. 


Harold Simmons

Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons built a business empire around the purchase of Superfund sites. Aside from his toxic business dealings, he has gained notoriety for the $10 million he’s given super PACs during the first four months of this year. 


Robert Rowling

Texas billionaire Robert Rowling is a member of the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. He is also gaining a name for himself by funneling some of his riches in to politics. This prolific donor has seen a return on his investment in the form of taxpayer assistance to his business ventures.