THE QUANT MASTER: Robert Mercer
Position Co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a pioneer of the high-frequency "quantitative" trading that was implicated in the 2010 "flash crash" – one of the steepest one-day drops in Wall Street's history.
Fortune Made $125 million in 2011 alone.
Past Donations Financed a $1 million ad campaign to stop the so-called "Ground Zero mosque." Founded his own Super PAC, Concerned Taxpayers of America, to target Democrats who speak out against Wall Street.
Current Donations Gave $1 million to Romney's Super PAC and $350,000 to the Club for Growth, an advocacy group devoted to lowering taxes for the wealthy.
What He Wants To squelch a proposed tax on stock transactions – a move that would limit his ability to game the market with algorithm-crunching computers.
How He Lives Owns a mansion on Long Island and a horse farm in Florida, where the gates alone cost more than $1 million. Sued the architect of his model railroad set – reportedly half the size of a basketball court – for $2 million.
THE KING OF CHICAGO: Kenneth Griffin
Position CEO of Citadel LLC, a hedge fund that accounted for nearly eight percent of all U.S. trading before the crash.
Fortune $3 billion (Forbes rank: 171)
Past Donations A Chicago power broker, Griffin gave $200,000 to Rahm Emanuel's mayoral bid.
Current Donations Gave $1 million to Restore Our Future, plus another $1 million to American Crossroads. Believes that he and his fellow billionaires "actually have an insufficient influence" on the political process.
What He Wants An end to the Volcker Rule and Dodd-Frank, reforms that seek to rein in Wall Street excesses. Complains that "every bank in the United States is really under the thumb of the government." Has donated $1.5 million to Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers outfit that lobbies against environmental regulations.
How He Lives Held his wedding reception at Versailles. Owns a $7 million penthouse in Chicago, a $40 million apartment in New York, a mansion in Aspen and a vacation estate in Hawaii. Bought a Jasper Johns painting for $80 million.
THE AMBASSADOR: L. Francis Rooney III
Position CEO of Rooney Holdings, a contracting firm that built stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers, as well as the visitor center at the U.S. Capitol.
Fortune In a rare 2007 disclosure, reported personal income of more than $40 million in 18 months. His company is one of America's largest privately owned firms: Annual revenues have run as high as $1.8 billion.
Past Donations Gave $250,000 to George W. Bush's second inaugural. Served as a former Bush bundler, raising at least $500,000 for the GOP in 2004.
Current Donations Rooney Holdings gave $1 million to Restore Our Future. As a finance co-chair for the campaign, Rooney has also hosted two fundraisers: one at a yacht club, and another to kick off a "Victory" fund for Romney and the RNC.
What He Wants More building contracts and patronage. His firm was awarded deals to build the presidential libraries of both Bushes, and George W. appointed him as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.
How He Lives Owns a $14.4 million waterfront estate in Naples, Florida, and a $2.4 million mansion in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
DR. DRILL: Steven Webster
Position Co-CEO and managing partner of Avista Capital, a private equity firm. Built his fortune in offshore drilling. His company, R&B Falcon, was the first owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf, unleashing the nation's worst environmental disaster.
Fortune Avista has more than $4 billion under management. Sold his drilling firm in an $8 billion deal.
Past Donations A former classmate of Romney at Harvard Business School, Webster gave $2,300 to Romney's presidential bid in 2007.
Current Donations Gave $1 million to Romney's Super PAC.
What He Wants To drill, baby, drill. In addition to financing oil exploration through his private equity firm, Webster sits on the boards of a half-dozen energy firms, including Basic Energy Services and Carrizo Oil & Gas.
How He Lives Owns an eight-bedroom, 7.5-bath mansion in Houston worth $4.7 million.
This story is from the June 7th, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
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