Marta Thoma Hall, who is married to billionaire David Hall, gave $470 to the campaign of Bernie Sanders last summer. She was the only billionaire or spouse of a billionaire that Forbes could find who donated to the Vermont senator. On November 13, one day after Forbes reported on the contribution, the Sanders campaign sent the money back, according to federal election filings released Friday.
Sanders has made his lack of billionaire support part of his sales pitch. “I am rather proud, maybe, I don’t know, the only candidate up here that doesn’t have any billionaire contributions,” he said during the Democratic debate in December, noting that Joe Biden had received contributions from 44 billionaires. Biden, for his part, rejected the idea that taking donations from super-rich people meant that he was somehow compromised by them.
There’s not much of a reason to think Hall’s $470 would have had a corrupting influence on Sanders. She is not the sort of rich person who has a grand strategy in her political contributions, like George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. Hall tends to give in increments of less than $100, when she, for example, hears a candidate say something she likes. By the end of September, she had donated to the campaigns of Sanders, Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke.