Politics

Political Notebook

Trump campaign sets his personal fortune at $10 billion

Donald Trump set his personal fortune at more than $10 billion with an annual income of more than $362 million.

AP Photo

Donald Trump set his personal fortune at more than $10 billion with an annual income of more than $362 million.

WASHINGTON— Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump filed financial documents with federal campaign regulators Wednesday and set his personal fortune at more than $10 billion with an annual income of more than $362 million.

Members of his staff had said that Trump would release the financial documents themselves, but they issued only a press release that announced the filing and included a few financial details. It provided little information about how he calculated his net worth.

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The $10 billion figure — up nearly 15 percent since the previous year, by Trump’s calculation — would make him the wealthiest person ever to run for president, far surpassing previous magnates such as Ross Perot, business heirs such as Steve Forbes, or private-equity investors such as Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee.

Among the sources of Trump’s income has been $214 million in payments from NBC related to 14 seasons of the business reality television show ‘‘The Apprentice.’’ NBC recently cut its ties with Trump following his controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants.

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Trump is relying almost exclusively on his personal wealth to fund his White House bid. His fortune could help maintain his status as a major player in the Republican presidential primary, much to the dismay of GOP officials who worry that his hardline immigration statements could alienate Hispanic voters.

Filing a personal financial disclosure with the Federal Election Commission is one of the requirements, set by the hosts, to participate in next month’s televised GOP debate.

His campaign noted that Trump held stakes in almost 500 business entities and said the federal forms are ‘‘not designed for a man of Mr. Trump’s massive wealth.’’

Bush, Clinton, rivals disclose campaign finance data

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WASHINGTON — Presidential contenders provided a glimpse inside their campaign war chests Wednesday, releasing financial statements that offered the first detailed accounting of how the candidates were raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars in pursuit of elected office.

The reports showed, for instance, that Jeb Bush has relied largely on wealthy donors giving the maximum contribution — attracting far less financial support from more modest donors — and that Rick Perry, Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum were burning through the money they have raised much more quickly than most of their opponents.

Hillary Rodham Clinton raised the most money for the primary of any candidate, $46.7 million, while Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, running against Clinton for the Democratic nomination, brought in $15 million, the vast majority of it from donors giving $200 or less.

But while the reports, filed with the Federal Election Commission, provided an early look at the campaigns’ financial operations, they tell only part of the story; they did not include money being raised by the super PACs and other outside groups that are supporting many of the candidates.

The GOP presidential hopefuls are almost uniformly relying on these groups, which can tap unlimited corporate and individual donations, to amass the financial firepower they need to break through a crowded field. This is a stark departure from past campaigns and has made most of the candidates deeply reliant on a handful of ultra-wealthy donors.

The new fund-raising model has altered the landscape of a campaign that is still months away from the first votes.

Without super PACs, four Republicans — Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Carson— would have raised about the same amount of money, $10 million to $12 million in the second quarter of 2015, according to the FEC reports and past announcements from the campaigns. A fifth candidate, Rand Paul, would be close behind, while others, including Perry, would be trailing.

Instead, the field has rapidly separated into three financial tiers. Bush has raised about $114 million with the help of a super PAC. Cruz, Rubio, and their super PACs occupy the next-highest tier, with each having raised more than $40 million.

Lagging them is a third tier, which includes several hopefuls who declared bids near or after the end of the fund-raising quarter and others who were slow to raise cash.

More than any other candidate, Bush appears to be relying on the fund-raising power of his super PAC — and $103 million in unlimited contributions it has collected — to fuel his campaign.

Bush’s report to the FEC Wednesday showed that he has had trouble attracting support from donors giving $200 or less — a group considered a key measure of grass-roots enthusiasm for a campaign. Out of the $11.4 million Bush’s campaign raised, only 3.3 percent came from these small donors, far less than what other candidates drew, and 81 percent came from wealthier donors making the maximum contribution of $2,700, the data showed. (Bush was his own biggest donor, contributing nearly $389,000 to his own campaign, the report showed.)

In comparison, Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor who is popular among many religious conservatives, reported Wednesday about 30 percent of his $2 million in donations came from smaller donors.

On the Democratic side, the picture is the reverse. Clinton, who is far outpacing her rivals on the fund-raising front, has raised almost four times as much as the super PAC supporting her candidacy. Her campaign reported Wednesday raising about $46.7 million in contributions for the Democratic primary.

The 2016 campaign could prove to be the most expensive on record, with the candidates, political parties, super PACs, and special-interest groups spending perhaps $10 billion under fund-raising rules made looser by the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 and other rulings.

New York Times

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