The 20 Most Influential Billionaires Behind The Scenes Of US Politics

House of cards raymond tuskNetflixFictional characters like billionaire Raymond Tusk from ‘House of Cards’ are real.

Politics and business have always had a sticky relationship.

The Brookings Institute released a ranking of U.S. billionaires according to their political influence.

The billionaires’ influences are measured by the “use of great wealth for campaign expenditures, activism through non-profit organisations and foundation, holding public office, media ownership, policy thought leadership, and behind the scenes influence.”

20. Alice Walton

Alice Walton, one of the Wal-Mart fortune heirs, is an early backer of Hillary Clinton's 'Ready for Hillary' super PAC.

Source: Brookings Institute

19. Donald Trump

Multimedia master Donald Trump routinely comments on numerous political issues and has succeeded in amassing a large following of conservatives.

Source: Brookings Institute

18. Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen backed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. He's interested in the future of journalism -- and in particular, the swift transition from traditional media to digital.

Source: Brookings Institute

17. Peter G. Peterson

Peterson argues for the reduction of government debt and with his foundation has funded organisations such as Fix the Debt and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Source: Brookings Institute

16. Paul Singer

Paul Singer -- a conservative Republican -- has been a supporter of same-sex marriage and has a political action committee called American Unity that contributed $US2 million in support of GOP legislators who also are in support of same-sex marriage.

Source: Brookings Institute

15. Art Pope

Until recently, Art Pope was North Carolina's state budget director and has been influential in the resurgence of the GOP in the state.

Source: Brookings Institute

14. Pierre and Pamela Omidyar

The Omidyars criticised U.S. surveillance, and their foundation works on government transparency, property rights, and economic development.

Source: Brookings Institute

13. Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos

Jeff Bezos recently purchased the Washington Post and has supported $US2.5 million to the Washington state referendum in support of same-sex marriage.

Source: Brookings Institute

10. Warren Buffett

Buffett has been a strong Obama supporter and advocates higher taxes on wealthy individuals.

Source: Brookings Institute

9. Penny Pritzker

Pritzker is an Obama supporter and served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in his administration.

Source: Brookings Institute

8. John and Laura Arnold

The Arnolds have contributed millions to state lawmakers in order to shift costs to employees and reduce pension benefits.

Source: Brookings Institute

7. Bill and Melinda Gates

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been extremely influential in education reform and contributed $US100,000 to support same-sex marriage in a Washington state referendum.

Source: Brookings Institute

6. Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch owns both the Wall Street Journal and Fox News -- two major news organisations. Plus, he works with Bloomberg on immigration reform.

Source: Brookings Institute

5. George Soros

Soros gave $US1 million to Obama in 2012 and signed up as the finance co-chair of the 'Ready for Hillary' super PAC.

Source: Brookings Institute

4. Sheldon Adelson

Adelson spent a whopping $US93 million 'seeking to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012' and promised to spend two times that much next election.

Source: Brookings Institute

3. Tom Steyer

Steyer is interested in climate change and works extensively to raise public awareness.

Source: Brookings Institute

2. Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg is donating $US50 million against the NRA with his super PAC Independence USA. He also has the nonprofit organisations Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Partnership for a New American Economy.

Source: Brookings Institute

1. Charles and David Koch

The Koch brothers have contributed $US30 million in 'campaign ads targeting vulnerable Senate Democrats in a number of states' and that number 'is expected to rise to $US290 million by Election Day.' Plus, they are running ads against Obama's health care act.

Source: Brookings Institute

And if you haven't gotten enough about billionaires yet ...

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.