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Intro: "Have you heard of William Dore, Foster Friess, Sheldon Adelson, Harold Simmons, Peter Thiel, or Bruce Kovner? If not, let me introduce them to you. They're running for the Republican nomination for president. I know, I know. You think Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney are running. They are - but only because the people listed in the first paragraph have given them huge sums of money to do so."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



The GOP's Big Investors

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

22 February 12

 

ave you heard of William Dore, Foster Friess, Sheldon Adelson, Harold Simmons, Peter Thiel, or Bruce Kovner? If not, let me introduce them to you. They're running for the Republican nomination for president.

I know, I know. You think Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney are running. They are - but only because the people listed in the first paragraph have given them huge sums of money to do so. In a sense, Santorum, Gingrich, Paul, and Romney are the fronts. Dore et al. are the real investors.

According to January's Federal Election Commission report, William Dore and Foster Friess supplied more than three-fourths of the $2.1 million raked in by Rick Santorum's super PAC in January. Dore, president of the Dore Energy Corporation in Lake Charles, Louisiana, gave $1 million; Freis, a fund manager based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, gave $669,000 (he had given the Santorum super PAC $331,000 last year, bringing Freis's total to $1 million).

Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam provided $10 million of the $11 million that went into Gingrich's super PAC in January. Adelson is chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Texas billionaire Harold Simmons donated $500,000.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, provided $1.7 million of the $2.4 million raised by Ron Paul's super PAC in January.

Mitt Romney's super PAC raised $6.6 million last month - almost all from just forty donors. Bruce Kovner, co-founder of the New York-based hedge fund Caxton Associates, gave $500,000, as did two others. David Tepper of Appaloosa Management gave $375,000. J.W. Marriott and Richard Marriott gave a total of $500,000. Julian Robertson, co-founder of hedge fund Tiger Management, gave $250,0000. Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman gave $100,000.

Bottom line: Whoever emerges as the GOP standard-bearer will be deeply indebted to a handful of people, each of whom will expect a good return on their investment.

And this is just the beginning. We haven't even come to the general election.

Non-profit political fronts like "Crossroads GPS," founded by Republican political guru Karl Rove, are already gathering hundreds of millions of dollars from big corporations and a few wealthy individuals like billionaire oil and petrochemical moguls David and Charles Koch. The public will never know who or what corporation gave what because, under IRS regulations, such non-profit "social welfare organizations" aren't required to disclose the names of those who contributed to them.

Before 2010, federal campaign law and Federal Election Commission regulations limited to $5,000 per year the amount an individual could give to a PAC making independent expenditures in federal elections. This individual contribution limit that was declared unconstitutional by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in a case based on the Supreme Court's grotesque decision at the start of 2010, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission.

Now, the limits are gone. And this comes precisely at a time when an almost unprecedented share of the nation's income and wealth is accumulating at the top.

Never before in the history of our Republic have so few spent so much to influence the votes of so many.


Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

 

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+43 # Buddha 2012-02-22 11:21
If we can't stem the flow of this corrupt money as it is guaranteed as "freedom of speech", couldn't we at least require politicians to wear the logos of corporations who bought them, like a NASCAR driver? That would certainly put their statements and policies they push into perspective, when everyone could see with their own two eyes who paid for that politician to get elected.
 
 
+22 # Rita Walpole Ague 2012-02-22 12:00
Wow! A real, true investigator is Robert Reich, a truthteller with no MSDing (manipulating spinning, distracting) or other karlroving style dirty tricks.

Thanks, Robert, for yet another step forward in helping we the sheeple to take off the blinders, get into logic/common sense/critical thinking mode, and thereby get ready to up our courage and determination to.....

UNDO THE COUP!!!
 
 
-12 # MidwestTom 2012-02-22 12:20
Don't just consider one side, go to "opensecret.org " where all of the big donors to both parties are listed.. So far Obama has brought in more money than all of the republicans combined. O like and respect Reich, but I am beginning to view him as part of the problem. He obviously thinks that just electing all Democrats will solve the existing problems. I left that thought pattern years ago. If you do not realize that both parties need to change you are blind to the political realities. We are electing fund raisers owned by big givers, not people who give a rat's arse about this countries citizens. The system we have is bad. The regions of this country are too diverse and too divided for any one solution to work. Instead of imposing the will of the national majority (defined as 51%) against the will of the remaining 49%, we should grant more power to the states and regions, and less to the Federal Government, or, I am afraid, we risk tragic consequences in the not to distant future.
 
 
+3 # Regina 2012-02-23 13:34
Against the tsunami of money cascading into the Republicans' treauries, Obama had no other option. Electing a solid phalanx of Democrats is now our only hope for a return to sanity as well as solvency.
 
 
-14 # John Gill 2012-02-22 12:20
I appreciate the heads up. Now, if only we knew who was sitting in the White House.
 
 
+15 # nancyw 2012-02-22 12:24
And we 'small earners' need to donate to our liberal candidates. A million of us even at one dollar would equal one of them.
 
 
-15 # Martintfre 2012-02-22 12:24
So Who are Obama's Big supporters?

How much is Obama getting from the banker cartel from the green energy special interest groups? From the Unions?
 
 
+11 # Billy Bob 2012-02-22 13:43
Yeah, those green energy special interests and unions have a lot of money.
 
 
-12 # Martintfre 2012-02-22 16:34
Not only do they have lots of money - they have the tax payers robbed at the point of a government gun to protect their greedy selfish interest. Non union teachers - forget it, it is against the law. card check we don't need no secret ballots Bruno and Knuckles will collect the correct votes from you, all protected by laws .. seeing corruption of one side and ignoring it on the other is pathetic.


Solyndra and other debacles - funded by tax payers so OBombya can buy re-election - one he does not deserve.

Thank God we have term limits else Reagan would still be president.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-02-22 23:43
Who are "Bruno and Knuckles"? Could you explain more specifically who you're refering to?
 
 
-4 # Martintfre 2012-02-23 10:56
The Card check is a horribly pro union bill designed to violate any hope of a secret ballot.

But to bigger issues and not lame evasions

How much is Obama getting from the Bankers? ... Where did his high level advisors come from - where did they go . Those questions were equally fair game when Bush was in office.

The stupid people are the useful idiots for the 1% who keep the 99% infighting while the 1% (who are both republicans and democrats) stay in power because useful idiots on both 'sides' blindly ignore their parties crimes but scream to high heaven about the same crimes when the other party does it.


It is not left vs right
- it is freedom Vs Tyranny.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-02-23 11:51
Left representing freedom and right representing tyranny.

Still, who are "Bruno and Knuckles"? Are they caricatures? If so, could you be more specific? What sorts of people are they meant to be a caricature of?
 
 
+16 # Mike Farrace 2012-02-22 12:44
I love the idea of candidates wearing sponsor logos. That would be an excellent political cartoon. If only that could ever happen.

Mr. Reich, thank you for your relentless pursuit of fairness in your many incisive columns and blog posts.
 
 
+6 # cherylpetro 2012-02-22 12:48
I hope all these rich RIGHT WING bastards spend their fortunes and then watch their candidates LOSE BIG TIME!I LOVE seeing these jerks who think their money will buy them anything they want, FAIL!IT WON'T BUY THE WHITE HOUSE THIS TIME!THEY WILL HAVE TO RESORT TO STEALING THE ELECTION AS THEY DID WHEN BUSH RAN AGAINST GORE, AND GORE WON THE POPULAR VOTE! I GUESS THAT IS WHY THEY ARE SEEKING JEB BUSH IN THE SAME CORRUPT STATE WHERE BUSH HAD THE COUNT STOPPED! GUESS REPUBES THINK FLORIDA IS THEIR "GOOD LUCK" CHARM! VOTE THE BEST CANDIDATE, NOT THE MOST MONEY! (AND IGNORE THE ADS! THE REPUBLICAN ADS WILL ALL BE LIES ANYWAY!)
 
 
-5 # Martintfre 2012-02-23 11:00
Thanks cheryl for your puppet speak that supports the 1%.

The 1% is both republican and democrat.

While the 99% fight over false left/right labels we stay divided and miss the larger issue that it is
freedom vs tyranny.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-02-23 11:53
Once again, the left represents freedom and the right represents tyranny. Changing the words from left and right, to freedom and tyranny doesn't really change the fundamental differences in philosophy. There is a left-wing philosophy and a right-wing philosophy. Whoever panders to the 1% is following the right-wing philosophy of trickle-drown. If it's a Democrat doing it, then it's a right-wing Democrat. Democrat doesn't mean left, even though repuglican ALWAYS means right.
 
 
+24 # seeuingoa 2012-02-22 12:59
Allow me to quote
F.D.Roosevelt in a message to Congress (1938):

"The liberty of a democracy is in danger if the people tolerate the growth of
private powers...
(corporations,
Sheldon Adelson,
AIPAC)...
to a point where it becomes stronger
than the democratic state itself.
That, in it´s essence is fascism"

GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS!
 
 
+7 # Billsy 2012-02-22 13:11
I find it equally loathsome how indebted our current president is to wall street players and how ineffective his administration has been at holding them accountable for fraud. Perhaps mr. reich figured we already know that and wanted to focus on the current election.
 
 
+1 # John Gill 2012-02-22 16:13
Exactly, although it makes me think that even if Reich's observation here is perfectly apt, (As far as it goes,) the emphasis placed on the Republican money men, and not on the obvious presence of the money men behind the Democrats, is yet another blind, (whether intentional or not), and encourages a false perception of actual choice between the two heads of the snake, when only the illusion of choice actually exists.
 
 
-7 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-02-22 13:41
Reich errs in lumping Ron Paul in with the other three Republican contenders. Paul's largest contributor base is from armed service members -- not the wealthiest people on the planet -- the vast majority of his money is from very small donations. Thiel did give a lot of money but, since everyone knows that Paul will not be elected, we can only assume that he gave the money because he agrees with Paul's policies -- at any rate, there certainly would be no quid pro quo for the donation.

One wonders if Reich will look at Obama contributors with the same jaundiced eye now that Obama has announced he will be using super-pacs to help him....

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+4 # AndreM5 2012-02-22 16:44
Do you not know what a Super PAC is? Reich clearly stated Peter Thiel dominates contributions to Paul's Super PAC. This post is not about the candidates' "campaign funds" but rather their "separate" Super PACs.
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2012-02-22 18:18
Quoting lnason@umassd.edu:
Reich errs in lumping Ron Paul in with the other three Republican contenders. Paul's largest contributor base is from armed service members -- not the wealthiest people on the planet -- the vast majority of his money is from very small donations. Thiel did give a lot of money but, since everyone knows that Paul will not be elected, we can only assume that he gave the money because he agrees with Paul's policies -- at any rate, there certainly would be no quid pro quo for the donation.

One wonders if Reich will look at Obama contributors with the same jaundiced eye now that Obama has announced he will be using super-pacs to help him....

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts

Good point.
It all removes the world of "who gets and who pays" farther and yet farther from the rest of we the many-headed (and cannon-fodder, if you like).
Granny D. must be revolving in her casket!
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-02-23 00:11
Why would there certainly be no quid pro quo for the donation? What are you basing that on?
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-02-22 13:56
I have a question that is a continuation of a previous conversation with several of you:

SHOULD WE RESPOND TO THE TROLLS?

The argument for it is that, without responding, we send the message that we have no answer to their comments.

The argument against it seems to be that, by engaging them we're giving them attention and helping them to distract us.

If you think we should ignore them, please give this comment a thumbs down. If you think we should take them on, please give this comment a thumbs up. Sorry to act like a teenager on youtube about this, but it's the only way I can think of to see what most of you think.

By the way, where do we draw the line? Whose comments aren't worth a response and whose are?
 
 
0 # bluepilgrim 2012-02-22 15:26
Comments worthy of response -- if you have something to say -- are those which bring up legitimate points which merit discussion or informational aditions. OR -- for trolls, if you have the time and inclination, responses can be used as educational opportunies to post information, links, and explanations of what the realty is, thus defeating their purpose of spreading dysinforation or obscuring the issues.

Trolls, by definition,almo st, are those who are not prepared to discuss an issue seriously and just want to disrupt discussion or drop little brown pellets and talking points.

Often enough I have collected information and thughts on some issue which I wanted to share, but thought it out of place to arbitrarily broach the subject. Trolls can provide a good reason for posting, however, which not only spreads good information but often sends the trolls scurrying for cover rather than standing in the light of truth and sunlight, revealed for their lies and fallacies.

Of course, some people, prehaps mistaken for trolls or crazies, are merely badly misinformed or stricken by faulty thinking or misunderstandin g, and these people will often consider the truth, backed up by references, and may well change their minds -- as may others who read what is posted. Thus, the truth emerges over time as people get more information and understanding, and that is perhaps the major goal of a site like this one.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-02-22 17:03
I think our definitions of trolls are inconsistent. There are a few people I consider truly affective trolls who most other responders don't see that way at all. There are some that are pretty obvious to me. How are we supposed to discern the difference between trolls, crazies, and misinformed people?

What if the troll brings up an obvious bit of right-wing propaganda which, on its surface, seems pretty reasonable? Do we ignore them, and let the lie go unchallenged, or do we challenge it, acknowledging that we won't convert the troll himself, but at least we'll show the propaganda for what it is?

Please understand, I'm not trying to stifle your comment. I'm seriously weighing this. Many other posters, who I respect, disagree with me sharply on this and I want to know if I should continue or if I'm doing more damage than good.

Often, I make a comment that I find particularly useful, only to have it censored by the moderators. The censored comments are usually directed at trolls. I'm assuming this is further proof that not everyone agrees with me.


*** RSN MODERATOR'S NOTE ***

We encourage discussions of and from all points of view, but we do ask that they be kept civil.

If comments are submitted in the form of a personal attack, include name-calling, slander, petty insults, etc., they will not be approved.
 
 
+9 # seeuingoa 2012-02-22 14:58
Please, please don´t give Billsy a thumbs down!

I was the biggest Obama-supporter in the world in 2008 and feel totally
frustrated and disappointed by him now.
You just need to mention:
Nobels Peace Prize,
Guantanamo,
treatment of Bradling Manning,
violation of 1st Amendment against 99%,
and so on,and so on

and just because the GOPs are a bunch
of nutcases, how can you easily give up
your principles saying that everything
else than the GOPs is better.


Obama has not deserved a second term
and how will you explain to your grand-
children that you voted for a guy who
betrayed all principles including the
RSN article about shrimps without eyes
letting BP get of the hook.

At the climate conference in Durban,
US could only agree to have another
conference in 2020, eight years too late.
Maybe the American people will not
wake up before we have had 8 years
with one of the awful alternatives.
Maybe we need to go down the drain
before the American people wake up.

How sad America has become.

WAKE UP FOR CHRIST SAKE!
 
 
+5 # L mac 2012-02-22 19:15
Quoting seeuingoa:
Please, please don´t give Billsy a thumbs down!

I was the biggest Obama-supporter in the world in 2008 and feel totally
frustrated and disappointed by him now.
You just need to mention:
Nobels Peace Prize,
Guantanamo,
treatment of Bradling Manning,
violation of 1st Amendment against 99%,
and so on,and so on

and just because the GOPs are a bunch
of nutcases, how can you easily give up
your principles saying that everything
else than the GOPs is better.


Obama has not deserved a second term
and how will you explain to your grand-
children that you voted for a guy who
betrayed all principles including the
RSN article about shrimps without eyes
letting BP get of the hook.

At the climate conference in Durban,
US could only agree to have another
conference in 2020, eight years too late.
Maybe the American people will not
wake up before we have had 8 years
with one of the awful alternatives.
Maybe we need to go down the drain
before the American people wake up.

How sad America has become.

WAKE UP FOR CHRIST SAKE!

.....and your choice would be....?
 
 
0 # seeuingoa 2012-02-23 00:16
We are not there yet, but my choice
will probably be

not voting - occupying !
 
 
+1 # ozken 2012-02-23 03:34
Back to whose the best of a bad bunch? My feeling is that Obama should be voted in but he needs a massive vote for Democrats all round so that he can act without having to go against Democratic principles just to get what's needed for a Democratic agenda past Republicans who want THEIR concessions. Usually gravy for their rich sponsors.
 
 
+1 # BellBuoy 2012-02-23 12:29
God yes we are all sick to death of the ugly influence of money in politics. Obama is as beholden to Wall Street and Corporations as anyone. But let's not forget: we vote with our dollars every day. We empower those Corporations by buying their products and services. Let's re-elect Obama in a landslide, withhold our money from the banks and Corporations, and rise up in a unified voice to DEMAND real changes to the game. We have already forced some concessions. Keep it up!
 

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