Powerful Anti-Republican Clip Inadvertently Sears Hillary
In a few months I'm being honored by a completely non-political institution for completely non-political activities I'm involved with. My co-honoree is a billionaire, one of Ted Cruz's multimillion dollar contributors. We'll be sitting on a dais together. Awkward.
We both gave 7 figure donations to the same institution but his political contribution is meant to help build a takeover of America that will exchange democracy for plutocracy and my work bundling small-dollar contributions for Bernie (here and here) is to help build the political revolution that will strengthen the hand of ordinary working families inside a Democratic framework. I wonder what we'll talk about.
Last week Politico made it clear that while billionaires are dominating 2016 spending, Bernie supporters are proving that small donors can fuel a viable national campaign. Bernie's average contribution is $27. The corrupt politicians-- of both parties-- who take money from the oligarchs are raking in immense amounts from billionaires whose average contribution is $1,950,000. The key takeaway from their feature is that "Megadonors in the Citizens United age expect more than just a photo with a candidate in exchange for their big super PAC checks, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that tracks political spending."
The analysis found that the leading beneficiaries of checks from the top 100 donors were Jeb Bush’s floundering campaign for the GOP nomination (a supportive super PAC received $49 million from donors on the list), Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton (super PACs dedicated to her raised $38 million from top 100 donors) and Ted Cruz’s insurgent GOP campaign ($37 million).
In fact, despite his attacks on his party’s donor class and establishment, Cruz, the Texas senator who won last week’s Iowa caucuses, appears to have locked down the support of four of the top six donors-- the Wilks family of Cisco, Texas (the No. 1 donor on Politico’s list), New York hedge fund tycoon Bob Mercer (No. 2), Texas energy investor Toby Neugebauer (No. 4) and Illinois manufacturing moguls Dick and Liz Uihlein (No. 6)-- but only one other donor on the list.
Conversely, a super PAC supporting Cruz’s GOP rival Marco Rubio raised just $22 million from Politico’s list, but the Florida senator appears to have the support of 14 of the top 100 donors, suggesting his ultra-rich supporters might be willing to spend even more to support him if he survives his widely panned Saturday night debate performance and emerges as the establishment’s best bet to knock off Cruz and national GOP polling leader Donald Trump.
Politico listed the 100 biggest donors; here are the top 32 from that list.
...Meanwhile, Clinton’s super PAC allies are assiduously courting wealthy liberals as they gird for a potentially protracted fight for the Democratic nomination against the unexpectedly vigorous insurgent campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has decried super PACs and has relatively little support from them. While super PACs supporting Clinton in 2015 raised $55 million-- $38 million of which came from top donors on Politico’s list, including $8 million from the fifth biggest donor, New York financier George Soros-- they have struggled to win support from other top Democratic donors.
The 10th biggest super PAC donor of 2015, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, has not donated directly to the pro-Clinton super PACs. He did give $5 million in 2015 to his own environmentally focused super PAC, which in turn gave $500,000 to American Bridge 21st Century, one of the super PACs backing the former secretary of state. But last month, Steyer signaled that he didn’t plan to endorse her and could be open to supporting Sanders in a general election.
Guy Cecil, chief strategist of the biggest super PAC supporting Clinton, Priorities USA Action, late last year rented a room at Washington’s tony Mandarin Oriental hotel to hold one-on-one meetings with wealthy liberals on the sidelines of a conference of the Democracy Alliance donor club, Politico has learned. The club’s members, a group that includes Steyer, at times have expressed concerns that Clinton is insufficiently liberal. But sources say that Cecil raised nearly $2 million from the group after just five donor meetings at the Mandarin during the Democracy Alliance conference.
...The analysis doesn’t include money donated to nonprofit groups that don’t disclose their donors-- including groups set up to support Rubio, Bush and Clinton-- nor does it include donations to super PACs funneled through shell companies or other nonprofits in a way that avoids FEC disclosure.