(CNN)“This is your brain on drugs,” a man says, holding up a frying pan with a sizzling egg, in the famous 1980s anti-drug public service announcement.
(CNN)“This is your brain on drugs,” a man says, holding up a frying pan with a sizzling egg, in the famous 1980s anti-drug public service announcement.
Pharmaceutical companies can push up prices dramatically because they are allowed to. Lets change that
In the classic arcade game whack-a-mole, automated moles pop up faster and faster, while the increasingly overwhelmed player attempts to beat them back down with a cushioned mallet. The political version of that game looks a lot like the recent controversy over the price of EpiPens.
Since buying up the exclusive rights to the EpiPen in 2007, the pharmaceutical company Mylan has increased the price of this life-saving medication more than 400%. The move sparked outrage, with most patients and politicians turning their ire on the easiest target: the company itself. Easy but wrong.
For starters, brand damage can be countered with savvy public relations without helping anyone. A few days ago, Mylan promised to help families afford its sky-high prices by expanding a coupon program. But it merely creates another bureaucratic hoop for sick people, and some insurers may not accept it. Many families could see no savings at all.
More importantly: the moles come faster than we can whack them down. Today we are upset about EpiPens. Yesterday, it was pharma bro Martin Shkreli, who hiked the price of a life-saving HIV/Aids medicine from $13.50 to $750. On any given day, it could be Gilead Pharmaceuticals spiking the price of Hepatitis C medication while shifting operations offshore to reduce taxes, or the cabal of companies raising prices on insulin in suspicious tandem.
Almost every case of outrage over pharmaceutical prices traces back to a company that has exclusive rights over a medication. We should blame drug monopolies for skyrocketing prices, not evil CEOs.
It may be because of patent law, in the case of Gileads hold on Hep C medication. Or the Food and Drug Administration blocking competitors, in the case of Mylan and EpiPens. We have created a system that allows these companies few or no competitors, but we are periodically shocked and publicly shame them when we do so. It almost seems a little unfair.
Instead of playing whack-a-mole, we need to break the monopolies themselves.
Many companies have effectively outsourced their R&D to federally funded academic research. Under existing law, federal funding of R&D requires companies to offer the medicine on reasonable terms. If they do not, we can demand generic versions for federal programs like VA hospitals, and pay a royalty in return. Or, we can simply break the patent for everyone.
In fact, we may not be limited to publicly funded pharmaceuticals. The federal government technically has the power to suspend a patent altogether. In 2003, the Bush administration threatened the maker of anthrax medicine Cipro with exactly that power.
Moving forward, all new patents could include far-stricter cost protections that link prices to median income. Or, if you prefer a more flexible system, you could incentivize innovation with hefty cash prizes, but place the resulting drugs in the public domain.
Instead, today, companies take advantage of taxpayers funding $32bn of research and development each year. Consider that the precursor to the EpiPen was the ComboPen, a product developed with public funds to protect our armed forces. When companies do invest their own money, it is often in drugs that generate steady long-term profits (like fighting baldness), rather than one which would cure a deadly disease but only be needed for two weeks.
Protecting pharma monopolies generates a poor return on public investment, while simultaneously spurring research into low-priority maladies. Labeling pharma execs callous or evil may be satisfying and even occasionally correct but it disguises the true concern. Going after companies one by one will get us nowhere. It is a pitiful strategy for lowering the price of life-saving medication.
Performance more than doubles predictions for small-budget film, as latest inexpensive hit for Sony tops Suicide Squad
Audiences turned out in droves for the horror movie Dont Breathe, which brought in $26.1m on the last weekend of August, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
That was more than double early predictions for how the film would perform and far above the modest production budget, which was reportedly less than $10m. Stage 6 Films produced and Sonys Screen Gems oversaw distribution.
Don’t Breathe is about a group of Detroit teens who chose the wrong house to rob that of a blind, vengeful veteran. It stars Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette and was directed by Fede Alvarez, who is known for the Evil Dead remake.
Sony Pictures marketing chief Josh Greenstein noted how rare it was for a film in this genre to resonate so deeply with critics its current Rotten Tomatoes score is 87%. It also continues Sonys summer of success with original films that cost very little to make.
This marks a string of very profitable hits for Sony with very modest budgets. The Shallows, Sausage Party and now Dont Breathe were all incredibly profitable because they were made for modest budgets and did incredibly well at the box office, Greenstein said.
Dont Breathe is also the latest horror success for Hollywood this summer, which has seen films like Lights Out, The Conjuring 2, and The Purge: Election Year thrive while bigger budget, spectacle-driven counterparts flailed.
As it turns out, horror is the least scary genre this summer, especially to the bean counters in Hollywood, said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for box office tracker comScore. [They] can almost always be counted on to make money.
Horror films, Dergarabedian said, perform very well on home video too.
Dont Breathe effectively unseated Suicide Squad from its three-week run atop the box office. This weekend, the comic book film grossed $12.1m, bringing its domestic total to $282.9m.
Laikas Kubo and the Two Strings took third place in its second weekend in theaters with $7.9m. The $60m film has now earned $24.8m domestically. Sausage Party continued to have a ball, earning $7.7m for a fourth place finish and an $80m domestic total.
The poorly reviewed Jason Statham-led sequel Mechanic: Resurrection placed fifth in its opening weekend with $7.5m, according to Lionsgate. The first film opened to $11.4m in 2011.
Among specialty releases, the Barack and Michelle Obama first-date movie Southside With You launched in 813 theaters to an estimated $3.1m, while the Weinstein Companys Roberto Duran boxing biopic Hands of Stone opened in 810 theaters to $1.7m.
Overall, the box office was up slightly from this weekend last year, when Straight Outta Compton opened. Next weekend closes out the summer season with the release of the sci-fi film Morgan and the romantic drama The Light Between Oceans.
Police are due to release Kevin Mallon after his arrest earlier this month in connection with an alleged Olympic ticket-touting operation
A sports hospitality boss arrested by police in Rio over an alleged ticket touting operation is due to be released from preventative detention, his company has said.
Kevin Mallon, a director of THG Sports, has been in custody in Brazil since 5 August, after being arrested in relation to Olympic tickets seized in a Rio hotel some of which were part of the Irish allocation and were for the opening and closing ceremonies and the football final.
The Olympic Council of Irelands authorised ticket reseller is Dublin-based PRO10 Sports Management.
THG insists it had legitimate customers for its tickets and that Mallon was acting as their collection agent, meeting clients. THG and PRO10 deny any wrongdoing over ticket sales.
Following intensive efforts by our lawyers in Brazil, THG welcomes the news that our colleague Kevin Mallon is shortly to be released from preventative detention in Rio, THG said in a statement. In line with our previous statements on this matter, THG has welcomed the public inquiry in Ireland into these matters and believes that the company and its executives will be vindicated when all of the evidence is reviewed.
Mallon has been held alongside OCI president Pat Hickey, whose family last week urged the Irish government to intervene over his degrading and humiliating ordeal.
The 71-year-old Hickey was arrested at a hotel in the Barra da Tijuca area earlier this month. Rio police said he has been formally accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing. Hickey has denied any wrongdoing.Through a solicitor, his family said they were extremely concerned about the manner of his arrest, his detention in the high-security Bangu prison, and the impact on his health.
They also voiced worries about pre-trial disclosure of what is purported to be evidence to the media and Hickeys right to a fair hearing, given the prejudicial way in which he has been treated to date.
Hickey has temporarily stepped aside from his roles as OCI president and a member of the International Olympic Committees ruling executive board.
Washington (CNN)Donald Trump’s campaign has unveiled new additions to its merchandise range, with the latest line of products including “Hil-liar-y” T-shirts and “Hillary for Prison” buttons.
The disgraceful 461% increase in the price of this vital medication is a symptom of a system where corporate greed takes precedence over public health
This month, pharmaceutical company, Mylan, crowed that they smashed second-quarter expectations; with earnings of $2.56bn, up 8% from the year before. Their CEOs salary has ballooned 671% over the past eight years. The corporation was able to accomplish this in part, because they are the maker of a medical device called the EpiPen, which delivers a life-saving drug to stop an anaphylactic allergy attack. The company has raised the price of this medication 461% since 2007. Mylans latest announcement that it would offer various new pricing concessions to families on lower incomes and those who have to pay out of pocket, cannot alter this stark fact.
American policymakers just woke up to a reality many American families have been living for years: the US medical system is tilted so far in favor of drug companies, that those reliant on life-saving medications are at the mercy of pharmaceutical manufacturers nearly limitless desire to line their pockets. I am a mother in one of those families.
When our beautiful daughter Emma was born in 2010, everything about her was perfect shed laugh while her 10 soft fingers would grab 10 wiggling toes. The only thing that seemed to trip her up was something that seemed to come pretty naturally to most newborns: eating. She was clearly in pain while she nursed, and we could not figure out why. The answer would emerge over the course of the subsequent months, through many medical visits: Emma was one of millions of children who, due to a series of genetic and environmental factors, was born with food allergies. We would later find out that one of her allergies was severe and life threatening: ingesting peanuts swiftly sends her into anaphylaxis.
The news was terrifying at first, and my husband and I quickly set up systems with her allergist to make sure she was safe in every possible setting or scenario. The central factor in every part of our plan was whether she would have quick and easy access to her EpiPen, which can immediately halt an anaphylaxis attack by delivering epinephrine, via injection. The EpiPen became an essential part of our lives overnight, and we would pay for as many as our health insurance would cover. But we learned over time that this life-saving device a triumph of modern medical science was becoming more and more difficult to access. Each dose must be replaced once a year, and each time we refilled the prescription, our pharmacist would report that the price jumped dramatically again.
Mylan was behind those increases, raising the price from $57 a shot when it took over sales of the product less than a decade ago to more than $600 today. This price jump exposes not just some gaping moral and ethical holes in Americas healthcare system, but some dangerous market distortions taking place in the US pharmaceutical industry.
First, the price has quadrupled in just nine years, with no perceivable improvement to the product to justify the increase. The drug still only contains about $1 of active ingredient. Second, consumers have no viable alternative, because Mylan holds a monopoly on the product. Other manufacturers have attempted to diversify the market, only to be stopped short by the US Food and Drug Administration. Weve seen pharmaceutical executives callously take advantage of this market opportunity a number of times before with different drugs, most notably when disgraced Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, Martin Shkreli, was exposed for price-gouging pills to $750.
Third, this drug is quite literally the difference between life and death for many families, because allergies do not discriminate between those who have quality health insurance or none at all. So far, my family has been lucky enough to have the means and insurance to keep adjusting to the jarring price hikes, but many are not so fortunate. Parents all over the country have shared their stories of helplessly watching the price of this life saving medication rise beyond their reach, or taking drastic measures to afford the medication.
The bottom line is that no parent should have to send their child off to school or camp, hoping and praying for their childs basic safety, because they cannot afford to purchase essential medication. Public officials weighed in this week, from Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is calling for hearings scrutinizing the price hike, to Hillary Clinton, who called on Mylan to immediately reduce the price of EpiPens.
The fact is that Mylan, and many other companies like them, were able to inflate prices on life-saving, one-of-a-kind medications, because they could.
The American medical system is simply broken. We are far from a free market where competition is open and companies are incentivized to spur innovation and compete fairly for market share. Instead, the powerful few are able to enjoy exorbitant profits at the expense of desperate families like mine, who will pay anything to simply keep their children safe.
In 2012, when bookstores and book clubs were alight with talk of Gone Girl, a vital modifier was attached to descriptions of Flynn’s fast-paced story: it’s not just a thriller, it’s a literary thriller.
“Literary,” in the case of a book about a marriage gone violently rancid, suggests that Flynn wasn’t only concerned with what happens in the story; she was interested in the nuances of the characters’ inner lives, too.
Naturally, some writers who devote themselves to crafting straightforward thrillers (or romances, or fantasies) take issue with the “literary” distinction, because it undermines the value of their own work. And indeed, salient arguments have been made against genre categories, which are said to be more of a marketing tool than a useful means of sorting and suggesting books.
But, according to a new study conducted by David Kidd and Emanuele Castano, books that carry the “literary” banner may offer unique benefits to readers.
The pair asked over 1,000 participants to check off literary names they recognized before identifying the emotions being expressed in various photos, drawing a positive correlation between literary awareness and emotional intelligence. The study controlled for self-reported empathy levels, and still found that those who’ve read more literary fiction books in their lives were better at recognizing the emotions of others.
In a report on the study in The Guardian, Kidd says:
Not all fiction draws on the same psychological processes in the same way […] over time, habitual reading of literary fiction is associated with differences in interpersonal perception that are not associated with regularly reading genre fiction.
A Reader’s Digest post on the study stresses that even the study’s authors “point out that their findings should not be taken as evidence of ‘the superiority of literary fiction.’” This may be because a similar, less rigorous version of the same findings that lead to controversy in 2013.
So, reader, read what you wish. But know that the classics Toni Morrison, Harper Lee and Don DeLillo among them might yield greater rewards.
Over the past two years a new generation of machine gun wielding lone wolf jihadis have sparked terror across Europes airports and train stations.
But AK-47 manufacturers have ignored this and decided to open a store in Moscow airport selling life-size imitation machine guns to passengers.
The opening comes as airport security gets stricter after ISIS terrorists used AK-47s and bombs during the November Paris attacks and Brussels bombings.
The iconic weapon famed for its durability and reliability during the usually harsh war environment has armed Russian forces for 70 years.
The store opened at Moscows Sheremetyevo airport, Russias largest flight hub, which saw more than 30 million people pass through it last year.
An airport official said the shop, offering novelties including pens, umbrellas, bags, hats, camouflage gear and I love AK T-shirts, would be situated in the rail-link section of the airport complex.
The model guns automatic pistols and rifles are clearlyimitations and would pose no security problems, he added.
The AK-47, the first rifle the firm produced, was introduced in 1948. It armed the Soviet Union and eastern Europe during the communist era and served largely pro-Soviet rebel forces across Africa and Asia.
Vladimir Dmitriev, head of the companys marketing, said: Kalashnikov is one of the most popular brands that come to mind for most people in the world when they hear about Russia. So, we are pleased to provide the opportunity for everyone to take away from Russia a souvenir with our company brand.
Many, however, noted the absurdity in selling imitation firearms in an airport. Reactions on Twitter varied between outrage and disbelief.
Selling assault rifles at an airport. What could possibly go wrong?
— Ariana Gic (@GicAriana) August 23, 2016
One person wrote, “Thank god for that! Kalashnikov have opened a shop at Moscow Airport. Because that’s what the world needs right now.”
Another said, “There is now a Kalashnikov booth at the Moscow airport from where you can buy gun replicas. Peak Russia ight there.”
The bottled water industry is in the midst of a banner year.
Bottled water sales are set to outstrip soda sales in the U.S. for the first time since the Beverage Marketing Corporation began tracking the industry in the 1970s, according data the firm released earlier this month.
On one hand, this could be viewed as a public health victory, especially since industry leaders say rising health concerns linked with the consumption of sugary, calorie-laden sodas are largely driving the trend.
But there is also a more potentially disturbing explanation for bottled water’s surge in popularity, these same leaders say: Consumers are fearful of what’s coming out of their taps, thanks to public health crises like the ongoing situation in Flint, Michigan, and America’s immense and underfunded water infrastructure challenges more broadly.
Critics of the bottled water industry point out that these increased sales represent the privatization of something that has generally been recognized as a public good. There is an incredible amount of waste generated along the way, and plenty of thorny questions about the ethics of water sourcing come up.
One of those critics is Gay Hawkins, a professor at Western Sydney University and the co-author of the 2015 book Plastic Water: The Social And Material Life of Bottled Water.
There is “no good news” in letting beverage companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which each benefit from the rise in sales through their own water brands — take control of America’s drinking water, Hawkins argues.
The Huffington Post recently spoke with the professor about what can be done.
Were you surprised to see this recent news that bottled water sales are surging past soda in the U.S.?
No, that is playing out everywhere. The way the beverage companies see it, there is a major attack on their market for selling dangerously oversweetened beverages. The way in which they respond to that is the introduction of a substitute market, which is water. All of this sort of implicitly says, OK, if you’re not reaching for a Coke, reach for a branded water instead. They don’t want to see their overall market share decline, so they’ve had to create other beverage lines that will cope with this.
I think it’s depressing to the extreme to think that there could be any positive hype about people reaching for water rather than Coke if you acknowledge the fact that they’re still reaching for a plastic bottle. If you want access to drinking water, you shouldn’t have to access that through a single-use [polyethylene terephthalate, the most common type of plastic used in water bottles] bottle, which is creating phenomenal waste problems around the world. If we’re committing to public health, what states and governments should be doing is intensifying people’s access to free water in public. We should see more water fountains everywhere, and they should be clean and readily available all over urban space. They should really be providing a genuine alternative to sweetened beverages.
Situations like Flint are contributing to this. Recently, a new report found that 6 million Americans are dealing with PFOA and PFOS, industrial chemicals, in their water. There are justified reasons for people to be suspicious of their tap water, so how does that factor into this?
This is a tragedy, a failure of governing and a failure of the state. Flint should be ashamed of itself for taking taxes from people and not being able to meet its basic minimal obligation — to provide its people with the means of life which is safe public water, of course.
Beverage companies see a state failure as a market opportunity. If people are losing trust in public water, they say, “Here is our chance to insert branded bottled water into this state of uncertainty and make people think this is the only water people can trust.” I think this is directly connected to the fact that beverage companies are creating doubt and manipulating public disputes about water quality to their own advantage.
Let’s face it, it’s pretty hard for a beverage company to turn water into water. We’re getting access to water in a cheap, sustainable way through a massive, networked infrastructure of pipes. Sure, that costs a lot of money to provide, but it’s nothing like the kind of money that goes into making single-use bottles. You have to do an immense amount of work to turn water into a commodity. Exploiting insecurity and doubt about existing forms of supply and generating incredible branding strategies that create all these new qualities for water — “untouched,” organic and all the other bullshit — help create this brand platform that turns water into something that radically differentiates it from the ordinary old stuff coming out of the tap. But really, it’s still just water.
How does the U.S. compare to other countries in terms of this? Situations like Flint aside, why are we leading the way on this trend?
I don’t want to be an expert on the U.S., but it’s pretty hard to promote government as a good thing there. It’s crazy the kind of anti-government sentiments I’ve heard from the U.S. All of us couldn’t function every day without government. Roads, traffic lights, being able to turn on the tap — all these things that we take for granted connect us as a community.
Government creates and maintains the common interest of the greater good. Water is at the heart of that and is something that should not be privatized. It’s something that we need to share and we need to collaborate in protecting. I think we need a much more vigorous defense of the public good and why governments matter, and why governments are central to protecting the commons, and water is part of the commons.
Possible solutions like tougher environmental and water safety regulations and improved funding for infrastructure are complex issues that can bogged down in politics. What can we do about this now?
There are some fantastic campaigns against bottled water, very impressive citizen-led campaigns to defend public water and demand access to water fountains in public, demanding that water supplies including aquifers or surface water be protected in the common interest. There’s a whole lot of strategies communities can engage in, but governments really need to step up here and really need to understand they’re in the business of providing services to populations and water supplies are the first one they need to insure and get right.
Outsourcing this and letting beverage companies step in and appear as the new model for infrastructure is a very depressing and troubling scenario. Governments need to realize that if they hand over their water supply to a beverage company, they’re left with managing the externalities of that market — clearing up and taking away those discarded bottles and managing the hard waste generated from that is incredibly unsustainable and more expensive than providing proper infrastructure in the first place.
Some government entities, like Baltimore schools, are coming to the conclusion that given concern about lead or other issues, using bottled water instead of repairing a system is cheaper. What do you make of that?
That’s a really disturbing picture, but it’s one that beverage companies would love because they are now becoming the trusted infrastructure. If you let the public infrastructure become run down to the point where the amount of money to fix it and improve it is astronomical, that failure of the state just sets this opportunity for others to step in.
Do you think the bottled water boom will continue in the immediate future? Or could we be heading toward a bust?
I thought a couple of years ago there was evidence to show that bottled water was declining in European markets as a direct result of some really powerful activism. The marketing of refillable portable bottles certainly had an impact. The other thing that happened was a lot of public or semi-public water infrastructures started re-branding and asserting to their populations that they are providing safe water that’s cheap and universally accessible. They had to engage in branding to compete with Coke and Pepsi, but it was quite successful in rebuilding trust in public water.
It worked in Europe, where there is still a lot of commitment to government. In the States, I don’t really know. If people don’t have that experience of accessing safe water when they turn on the tap, I can’t blame them for looking after their own interest and trusting a beverage corporation. But the only way you could address this is to engage in good governance of water and to say to your population your water is safe, we are investing in infrastructure, so celebrate what a shared water economy can do. It’s celebrating what we all have in common, and that is the need for water.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Joseph Erbentraut covers promising innovations and challenges in the areas of food and water. In addition, Erbentraut explores the evolving ways Americans are identifying and defining themselves. Follow Erbentraut on Twitter at @robojojo. Tips? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WASHINGTON In almost every possible way, Hillary Clinton and her allies entered the general election push against Donald Trump with massive campaign advantages. At the beginning of August, after both party conventions, the Clinton team held a massive cash advantage while simultaneously outspending Trump on building a traditional presidential campaign.
The Clinton campaign received $52.3 million in July compared with $36.7 million for Trump. The Republican nominee contributed $2 million of his own money to the campaign, with the rest of his funds coming from other donors. The Democratic National Committee raised $32.4 million next to $27.2 million for the Republican National Committee. The pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action raised $9.9 million while two of the three main pro-Trump super PACs Great America PAC and Make America Number 1 raised a combined $4.4 million. The third won’t report its numbers again until October.
The two campaigns appear to be following very different paths on how they spend this money, too. Clinton’s campaign spent $38.2 million in July, including $26 million on television advertising and $3.3 million to pay a staff of 889.
The Trump campaign spent just $18.4 million, albeit its highest monthly total so far. This spending, however, seemed to largely go toward raising money. His largest expense was $8.5 million to the digital marketing company Giles-Pascale for online advertising, which often consists of direct click to fundraising appeals. The purchase of hats, T-shirts and other apparel added up to $1.8 million. The campaign spent half that $921,000 to pay its 148 staff and consultants in July.
Trump also continued to spend money on his own properties to the tune of $782,000. This included paying rent at Trump Tower and covering the salaries of Trump Organization employees who are also working for the campaign. The largest of these expenses within his own empire was $495,000 paid to cover the use of Trump’s personal airplane.
Private air travel was actually the Trump campaign’s second biggest expense overall. It spent $2.7 million on private jets and Trump’s personal plane.
While Trump’s campaign spent far less than Clinton’s, he did so while two joint fundraising committees raising money for his campaign hoarded money. In a press release from early August, the Trump campaign said it had raised $82 million through his campaign and two joint fundraising committees linked to Republican Party committees. The release further stated that the two joint fundraising committees had $37 million in cash on hand at the end of July.
Those joint fundraising committees won’t file their finances until October, but a little math shows that they have also been spending money. They started the month of July with $12 million in cash on hand. In July, the Trump campaign directly raised $21.7 million and received a $14.5 million transfer from the two fundraising committees. These committees also transferred $14.9 million to the Republican National Committee. This means the fundraising committees appeared to have spent about $6 million in July. Joint fundraising committees are allowed to spend funds so long as it is on fundraising expenses.
The tale of the two political party committees working to get their nominee elected president is almost reversed from four years ago. The Republican National Committee’s $27.2 million raised in July is $10 million less than what it raised in July 2012. The $32.4 million raised by the Democratic National Committee in July is a higher total than any single fundraising month during the 2012 campaign.
The DNC is making the most of its fundraising bonanza by spending early on infrastructure in key states across the country. State parties received $8.8 million transferred from the DNC’s accounts. Of that total, $7.3 million went to party committees operating in the 11 swing states.
On the other side, the RNC is doing what it did in 2012 sitting on its money. This time, however, it has less to work with. The chief Republican party committee spent just $13.8 million in July and entered August with a robust $34.5 million in cash on hand. That is far less than the $88 million in cash on hand it had at the same point in 2012.
Similar to 2012, though, is the early disadvantage the Republican party committees in swing states find themselves in. With little money transferred by the main party into the states, Republican committees have received less money, spent less money and hired fewer staff than their Democratic counterparts.
In the 11 swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, the Democratic party committees raised $10.5 million in July compared with $3.3 million for the Republicans. Democratic committees in these states spent $9.9 million while Republicans spent just $3.3 million. This spending advantage has led to a more-than-2-to-1 staff advantage for Democrats. In these 11 swing states, Democratic committees paid 1,614 staff members solely for federal election activity while Republicans paid 745.
This is very similar to the ground-level advantage Democrats built during President Barack Obama’s two election victories.
Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC supporting Clinton’s bid, continued to pull in massive contributions from the super rich in July. Just two men, hedge fund billionaire Donald Sussman and SlimFast founder S. Daniel Abraham, accounted for $6 million of the super PAC’s $9.9 million haul. Each billionaire gave $3 million. The Laborers’ International Union of North America gave another $1 million.
The main super PAC supporting Trump did not report its finances Saturday. It will next report in October. However, two other super PACs formed to boost the Republican nominee did disclose their donors.
Great America PAC, a super PAC run by longtime GOP consultant Ed Rollins, raised $2.4 million mostly from small donors. Its largest donation was a $100,000 contribution from San Francisco Giants owner Charles Johnson.
Hedge fund billionaire and conservative activist donor Bob Mercer provided $2 million to the Make America Number 1 super PAC. The group was formerly organized to support Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the Republican primary, but Mercer has since shifted his support to Trump. As a funder of the conservative website Breitbart, Mercer is an instrumental player in the many moving pieces of the infrastructure now making up the Trump campaign. He is also now one of the largest donors to Trump’s election efforts.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.