A dozen wealthy political donors and their spouses spent a combined $3.4 billion on federal elections in the U.S. between 2009 and 2020, accounting for $1 of every $13 contributed to political candidates and groups in the post-Citizens United era.\u0022Our government can\u0026#039;t be responsive to all Americans if our elected officials are beholden to the elite donor class.\u0022—Nick Penniman, Issue OneThat\u0026#039;s according to Outsized Influence, a new report\u0026nbsp;released Tuesday by Issue One, a nonpartisan group that advocates for basic but transformative political reforms—including stricter campaign finance laws designed to empower ordinary Americans and reduce the undemocratic power of megadonors.In response to the study illustrating the extent to which the super-rich have come to dominate political spending since 2010—when the U.S. Supreme Court\u0026#039;s 5-4 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission effectively legalized spending unlimited amounts of money to sway electoral outcomes—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said: \u0022That\u0026#039;s what holds in place our rigged, corrupt economic and political systems.\u0022\u0022This research shows the alarming influence of just a handful of wealthy megadonors in our political system,\u0022 said Issue One founder and CEO Nick Penniman. \u0022Our government can\u0026#039;t be responsive to all Americans if our elected officials are beholden to the elite donor class.\u0022According to Issue One\u0026#039;s analysis of data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics, the $3.4 billion that was contributed collectively by just a dozen super-rich households \u0022amounts to 7.5% of the $45 billion that all federal candidates and political groups raised between January 2009 and December 2020.\u0022\u0022Put another way,\u0022 wrote Michael Beckel, the author of the report, \u0022this means that 12 megadonors and their spouses—a total of 19 individuals—accounted for about $1 of every $13 in federal politics.\u0022One out of every 13 federal campaign dollars raised in U.S. elections since 2009 came from just twelve people and their spouses: https://t.co/kDxyhVEfwG— Matt Ford (@fordm) April 20, 2021The study confirms that the influence of concentrated wealth on politics is a bipartisan problem. Of the nation\u0026#039;s top 12 megadonors, six generally supported Democrats while the other half generally supported Republicans.In fact, two failed Democratic presidential candidates are responsible for a significant chunk of the billions that this tiny handful of super-rich Americans spent on politics in the past decade-plus.The $3.4 billion sum \u0022includes about $1.4 billion that billionaires Michael Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City, and Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund manager from California, contributed from their own funds to their unsuccessful 2020 presidential campaigns,\u0022 Beckel pointed out. \u0022Bloomberg alone sunk $1.09 billion of his own funds into his failed presidential bid.\u0022\u0022The other $2 billion in political contributions by these 12 megadonors,\u0022 Beckel added, \u0022flowed to federal candidates and political party committees like the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee, as well as to super PACs, which, unlike candidates and political parties, are legally allowed to accept contributions of unlimited amounts.\u0022Ten other mega-rich households, including at least six additional billionaires, joined Bloomberg and Steyer on the list of the biggest political spenders between 2009 and 2020. As the New York Times noted, \u0022The list includes multiple Wall Street billionaires and investors, a Facebook co-founder, a shipping magnate, and the heir to a family fortune dating back to the Gilded Age.\u0022\u0022The growing influence of multimillion-dollar megadonors has been accompanied by another, competing trend: a surge of small online donations to politicians of both parties,\u0022 the Times reported. \u0022Those contributions—in $5, $10, and $25 increments—have given Democrats and Republicans an alternate source of money beyond the super-rich.\u0022Nonetheless, the study found that the country\u0026#039;s top 100 ZIP codes for political contributions, which are home to less than 1% of the total population, accounted for about 20% of the $45 billion that federal candidates and political groups raised between 2009 and 2020.A substantial portion of political contributions from those top-giving ZIP codes \u0022is attributable to a handful of wealthy megadonors, if not a single megadonor,\u0022 the report noted. \u0022The top 12 megadonors and their spouses accounted for roughly 25% of the money contributed by all residents of the 100 top-giving ZIP codes.\u0022Notably, \u0022five of the 100 top-giving ZIP codes—94126 in San Francisco; 10150, 10154, and 10106 in New York City; and 72221 in Little Rock, Arkansas—are not home to any actual people,\u0022 the report added. \u0022Instead, they are associated with skyscrapers and post office boxes that are regularly used as business addresses by wealthy political donors.\u0022\u0026nbsp;\u0022Congress must urgently act to restrain the growing influence of money in our politics and build a system that truly represents all Americans, not just the wealthy few.\u0022—Meredith McGehee, Issue OneAs Issue One executive director Meredith McGehee said: \u0022Americans are losing faith in our democratic institutions. They see political gridlock and a broken campaign finance system that gives undue influence to billionaires and millionaires across the political spectrum, while the vast majority of ordinary citizens lack a seat at the table.\u0022McGehee added that \u0022Congress must urgently act to restrain the growing influence of money in our politics and build a system that truly represents all Americans, not just the wealthy few.\u0022Earlier this month, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) led 50 members of Congress in introducing a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood, reverse the Supreme Court\u0026#039;s\u0026nbsp;Citizens United decision, and \u0022put power back into the hands of people.\u0022And last month, after House Democrats passed the For the People Act, Senate Democrats introduced their version of the sweeping plan to strengthen voting rights and limit the impact of big money in politics; its passage now depends on eliminating or reforming the 60-vote filibuster rule.\u0022The time is now to get big money out of politics, and move to the public funding of elections,\u0022 Sanders said Tuesday.