Among Bernie Sanders' top donor there are a lot of big tech companies (most of them based on Silicon Valley, California), namely: Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, IBM, Facebook. This surprises me because Sanders tax policies would damage big companies' revenue.

Those donations are pretty modest (~ $10K) -- five orders of magnitude lower than Hilary Clinton's top donations (~ $1B). Is the small size of the donations the only reason why Sanders' top donators are big tech companies?

Source: https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/contrib.php?cycle=2016&id=N00000528&type=f

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    Are the donations by the companies, or by employees of the companies?
    – Golden Cuy
    Feb 11, 2016 at 19:53
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    Read at the bottom: "The money came from the organizations' PACs; their individual members, employees or owners; and those individuals' immediate families. At the federal level, the organizations themselves did not donate, as they are prohibited by law from doing so." Companies cannot contribute directly to federal candidates. They can solicit contributions from their employees and direct them as they see fit. Feb 12, 2016 at 0:55
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    This is why, for instance, you see "US Air Force" on that list. The Air Force, as a government agency, certainly cannot support a presidential candidate. Feb 12, 2016 at 0:57
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    @drake If you click through on that site to the actual employer PACs, you can see a list of donors. Also, I think the only real answer you can get to this question is "because a number of the employees and owners of these companies and their families support Bernie Sanders." There's not much to this. Feb 12, 2016 at 1:32
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    We can only guess. And if I had to guess, my guess would be that tech companies skew young in terms of employee demographics...just as Bernie Sanders supporters do.
    – user1530
    Feb 12, 2016 at 2:10

2 Answers 2


The donations you cite are made to the DNC, not to a Bernie SuperPac. He doesn't have one. They are for the purpose of obtaining special favors from the DNC:


Part of Sanders' agenda is to break this cycle of indebtedness so his historic donations are from people, not corporations. People like Bill Maher, who donated a million to Obama's campaign would like to give Bernie more but Bernie is not accepting any but the support of the people.

  • I though that companies or organizations could make small donations even if he lacked a SuperPac. Then, why can unions donate him? What kind of organizations can make donations?
    – drake
    Feb 11, 2016 at 20:45
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    This answer is just wrong: This page shows contributions grouped by contributor to the candidate's campaign committee plus any super PACs or hybrid PACs working on his or her behalf. They're not contributions to the DNC, they're contributions to the candidate's campaign. Also, the second half is just opinion mixed with confusion. The individual contribution limit to campaigns directly is $2700 per election and has been for some time. Bill Maher gave a million to a PAC supporting Obama, not his campaign. Feb 12, 2016 at 1:29
  • Sanders does not take money from super PACs.
    – Ruminator
    Feb 18, 2016 at 23:17
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    What Opensecrets is reporting is donations to dccc.org and other generic Democrat groups which may or may not benefit Sanders and over which he has no control.
    – Ruminator
    Feb 18, 2016 at 23:34

Keep in mind... the fact that most of those tech companies are based in California has some relevance - California is (always has been) a progressive-leaning state. Combine that with the factor blip mentioned regarding the average age of people employed in said tech companies being rather young, and that young people are overwhelmingly throwing their support behind Bernie in this election cycle; Well, there you've got two factors lending quite a bit of weight as to why Bernie seems to be the favorite of many tech companies.

However, going by industry, tech companies do not make up the greater proportion of donations, see this page placing (interestingly enough) retired individuals as making up the largest amount of combined donations while Electronics Mfg. & Equip comes in at a modest 7th place in the list of most substantial donations by industry.

  • 1 Retired $1,086,825
  • 2 Education $580,328
  • 3 Lawyers/Law Firms $300,057
  • 4 Health Professionals $296,931
  • 5 Misc Business $286,682
  • 6 Democratic/Liberal $275,490
  • 7 Electronics Mfg & Equip $268,74


  • I wonder what percentage of those retired people were public employees?
    – user1873
    Feb 21, 2016 at 16:23
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    What would be the relevance of that (just wondering)? Current Civil Servants/Public Officials place 11th in that list with roughly 170.6 million in donations, if that's any help to what you're lookig at... I just found it interesting that retirees (a.k.a. elderly people, in most cases) make up the largest portion of donations yet all I hear anyone talking about is how Bernie's base is heavily represented by young and first-time voters.
    – Sk Johnson
    Feb 21, 2016 at 16:35
  • @SkJohnson though note a lot of people that may be supporting candidates heavily that are in tech may also call themselves 'retired' and not even be 40. :)
    – user1530
    Feb 22, 2016 at 4:31
  • Well, yeah, I'm sure some are, I just wouldn't think it could be a very large portion of them... but I don't really know. I don't see why there would be more retired people under the retirement age in the tech industry than there usually are in other industries; But again, just making the assumption that the majority of retirees are going to be elderly people.
    – Sk Johnson
    Mar 12, 2016 at 9:04

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