Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Bloomberg Law
Advanced Search Go
Free Newsletter Sign Up

How Much Money Did Lawyers Contribute to the Presidential Election?

Nov. 8, 2016, 2:00 PM

With U.S. Presidential election taking place, it’s a convenient time to ask: who did the lawyers support?

If, as they say, money talks, it’s probably yelling “I’m With Her” — Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan. That’s according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan nonprofit that tracks political spending.

The non-profit found lawyers and law firms had donated $36.4 million to Clinton, but sent only a fraction of that amount to Republican nominee Trump, $942,000. To put that in perspective, five other presidential candidates raised more money from lawyers and law firms than Trump, including Jeb Bush ($4.3 million), Bernie Sanders ($2 million), Marco Rubio ($2 million), Ted Cruz ($1.59 million) and John Kasich ($979,000). And all of those candidates dropped out of the race months ago.

Those numbers were compiled from data the Federal Election Commission released on Oct. 28 and are only for the 2016 election cycle; the totals represent all political action committee contributions as well as contributions from individuals of $200 or more, that were categorized based on the individuals’ occupation or employer.

There’s not really too many ways to spin the numbers: Clinton raised more than eight times as much from lawyers as the next closest person, which was Jeb Bush. And compared to Trump, even on a relative basis, lawyers were far more likely to favor Clinton.

Even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who dropped out of the race in February, raised $900,000 from lawyers, almost as much as Trump. This was while Christie also faced allegations he was involved in the political scandal known as Bridgegate that created massive traffic delays on one of the main bridges into Manhattan.

Trump’s $940,000 from lawyers did exceed the $80,000 raised by the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and the $20,000 raised by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Overall, including direct fundraising plus the money raised by outside groups, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton raised $687.2 million and Republican nominee Donald Trump raised $306.9 million, according to the non-profit.

Lawyers actually contributed about 5.2 percent of Clinton’s overall haul, and only about .3 percent of Trump’s overall funds.

In summary, it’s fair to say that lawyers contributed modestly to the overall picture. All the presidential candidates, including those who have dropped out, raised $1.3 billion directly, and the political action committees supporting them raised another roughly $600 million — for about $1.9 billion in total. Lawyers accounted for about $52.4 million, which amounts to roughly 2.7 percent of the overall money raised, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ data.