According to Forbes' report, among the current ranks of 1,226 billionaires in the world, 425 are American. Of those, five have run for office. Only one, the richest among them, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (US$22 billion), has succeeded. For comparison, Bloomberg is anywhere from 85 to 110 times richer than Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Forbes also counts 16 current billionaires throughout the world who have ran for, and in some cases attained, public office.
Alexander Lebedev [Itar-Tass]
The Connection: Political ally, Mikhail Gorbachev
Alexander Lebedev is a leading critic of Russian authorities; the former KGB agent refuses to leave his country for fear he'll be forced into exile. Lebedev's National Reserve Bank in Moscow and his Crimean hotel were both searched last year. Lebedev's political career has not been as successful as his business life: a member of Russia's parliament until 2007, he then tried to launch a new social democrat party with Mikhail Gorbachev, but the effort fizzled. Lebedev financially supports the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation which has built a free children's cancer hospital in St. Petersburg.