Buying of the President

Published — April 30, 2015 Updated — October 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm ET

12 things to know about Bernie Sanders

Carlos Osorio/AP


Conventional wisdom says he’s a long shot, but Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., today will announce he’s running for president.

Sanders, known as a populist liberal and a self-described socialist, will run as a Democrat.

He’s hoping to raise $50 million for his bid, Bloomberg reports — almost certainly far less than Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is expecting to pull in.

But it’s still sizable sum for a U.S. senator from a small state who has traditionally leaned heavily on small-dollar donors.

Here’s more on Sanders’ financial history:

  • Since 2009, Sen. Bernie Sanders has raised about $7.6 million for his campaign committee. Most of it — more than 60 percent — came from small-dollar donors who gave $200 or less.
  • The metro area where Sanders raises the largest amount of money? Los Angeles-Long Beach — a long way from his Vermont home.
  • Sanders is one of a small number of senators who voluntarily e-file their campaign finance reports, making the reports easier to access.
  • Sanders has pushed campaign finance reform and called on Congress to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which he called “one of the worst in American history.”
  • Sanders’ biggest annual fundraiser is usually a $25-per-person sunset cruise on Lake Champlain.
  • Sanders turned a fiery, hourslong filibuster against extending the Bush tax cuts into a book. During the 2012 election cycle, his campaign gave a copy to donors of at least $50.
  • Sanders reported receiving more than $26,000 in royalties from his filibuster-inspired book in 2011 and 2012. He said he donated the money to charity.
  • Sanders’ estimated net worth, $330,507, makes him one of the nation’s poorest senators, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
  • Sanders — despite his big-money-in-politics opposition — is supported by a super PAC calling itself Ready for Bernie Sanders 2016. Perhaps appropriately, the super PAC hasn’t reported raising any money yet.
  • Elect Bernie Sanders president and Ben & Jerry’s could give out free cones every day — according to Funny or Die. But since that’s a satire site, probably not.
  • Sanders’ top five contributors since 2009 are all unions, with the Sheet Metal Workers Union giving him the most: $27,500.
  • Most of the money Sanders gets from political action committees — 69 percent — comes from union PACs.

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting and

Read more in Money and Democracy

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