Forbes Billionaire List 2013: Koch Brothers, Bill Gates Make the Cut

Forbes released its annual billionaires list on Monday, and for the most part, it isn’t much different than the 2012 compilation. The list itself now holds 1,426 names, with an aggregate net worth of $5.4 trillion dollars. This is an increase from last year, when the number was slightly smaller at $4.6 trillion.

The U.S. led the list, according to Forbes, with 442 billionaires in the nation. Asia-Pacific followed in a close second with 386 billionaires. Europe is home to 366 billionaires, the Americas to 129, and the Middle East and Africa to 103.

Carlos Slim Helú of Mexico topped the list for the fourth time, followed by Bill Gates, who came in second, and Amancio Ortega of the Spanish retailer Zara at number three. The ones we really care about, though, are those who write hefty checks during political campaigns and elections, and there are plenty of those on the list.

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison, the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and George Soros all made the list this year, but which party do their political contributions go to? Let's have a look.

1. Bill Gates

Gates, for one, with a net worth of $67 billion donated $442,000 to national candidates within the last decade — his funds almost equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, though with a slight leaning towards the right.

2. Warren Buffett

Buffett, on the other hand, who comes in fourth on the list with a net worth of $53.5 billion, has donated hefty sums as well, although his monetary funds don’t really measure up to the general support he has shown to President Obama in the past and his role in the president’s tax plan, aptly nicknamed the “Buffett Rule.”

3. Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison, fifth on the list with a net worth of $43 billion also donates more heavily to the Democrats, with his Republican contributions only measuring to be a fifth of what he spends in donations to the Democrats.

4./5. Koch Brothers

Charles Koch and David Koch, both at number 6 with $34 billion to their name, contribute a significant amount to conservative, libertarian, and free-market individuals and organizations. In fact, in 2012 the brothers, by their own admission, had raised millions to sway votes for the election which they believed would be “for the life of death of this country.” Whereas the other billionaires listed so far have donated to both parties, Charles and David Koch have donated 100% to the Republican Party.

6. Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson, 15th on the list with a net worth of $26.5 billion has also largely only donated to the Republican Party — and had also vowed to spend as much as $100 million last year in efforts to defeat President Obama.

7. George Soros

On the flip side, George Soros, who places at number 30 on the list with a net worth $18.9 billion, has historically been a liberal contributor, with most of his donations making rounds in Democratic circles. Much of his donations, however, have been to groups that focus on grassroots organizing and advocacy.

Forbes also noted that resurgent asset prices were the “driving force behind the rising wealth of the super-rich around the globe” and that the gainers outnumbered the losers this year by 4-to-1.