But to hear some of the biggest donors of 2012 tell it, their six- and seven-figure contributions have instead bought them nothing but grief.
Their personal lives are fodder for news stories. President Barack Obama and his allies have singled out conservative mega-donors as greedy tax cheats, or worse. And a conservative website has launched a counteroffensive targeting big-money liberals.
This is definitely not what they had in mind. In their view, cutting a million-dollar check to try to sway the presidential race should be just another way to do their part for democracy, not a fast-track to the front page.
And now some are pushing back hard against the attention, asking: Why us?