“What the Supreme Court did in Citizens United is to say to these same billionaires and the corporations they control: ‘You own and control the economy, you own Wall Street, you own the coal companies, you own the oil companies. Now, for a very small percentage of your wealth, we’re going to give you the opportunity to own the United States government.’” — Bernie Sanders (via humanformat)
How to buy the White House (aka political investing for profit):
“About four dozen donors and families have given at least $1 million to super PACs this election cycle, with three-quarters of them giving to the GOP. Combined, these four dozen donors have provided $130 million of the $308 million super PACs have raised this cycle (more than 40 percent) — a reflection of how much these outside groups are funded by extremely wealthy donors. And that goes double on the GOP side, where nearly half of the $228 million raised by super PACs has come from about three dozen million-dollar donors. [...] Topping our list, of course, is the family of Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, which has combined to give more than $36 million (including funds given by their children). Much of it has gone to a super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich in the Republican presidential primary, but more recently the couple gave $10 million to the top super PAC supporting Mitt Romney. [...] The point? Democrats are making the case that Romney is an extremely wealthy man propped up by extremely wealthy super PAC donors. And at least for now, with super PACs carrying the load for Romney in the early ad wars, there’s a lot of truth to that.” — The Fix’s super PAC Millionaires Club – The Washington Post
What do they hope to get for the millions they’re pouring into Romney? More money, more tax cuts, loopholes, and subsidies, paid for with austerity cuts for the rest of America.
Like Mitt Romney, the world’s super rich are hiding at least $21 trillion offshore (Where’s the tax returns?)
The super secret, exclusive shindig for Mitt Romney’s biggest donors in Park City, Utah, dubbed the “First National Romney Victory Leadership Retreat,” over the weekend has some interesting details. If you don’t find this information at least a little bit alarming, I suggest you check yourself for a pulse.
Politico describes the setting — “Eight hundred top donors gathered in the ballroom of a resort here to watch the presentation: the Romney campaign for president is organized, efficient and run like a business. In other words, their money is being wisely invested. The price tag for entry to the exclusive donor retreat was $50,000 and included access to some of the GOP’s biggest names — Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, as well as a briefing from top Romney officials on how they planned to beat President Barack Obama in November. It was a way of saying “thank you” to the hundreds of bundlers — fundraisers who tap their network of friends, family and associates to raise far more than the $2,500 they are allowed to individually contribute to a campaign. While Obama discloses his bundler list, Romney shrouds his in secrecy and the goings-on this weekend were held strictly behind closed doors.”
And who are the lucky folks who scored exclusive invitations? No idea.
Steve Benen comments – ”All of this, apparently, is “a way to reward top-performing bundlers, who make their own donations and then raise many times that from their networks of friends and associates.” To be sure, this is quite a treat for these bundlers, who will reportedly be “briefed on campaign strategy” during the posh affair (the agenda for Saturday evening includes “dessert and dancing”). [...] Unlike George W. Bush, John McCain, and Barack Obama, each of whom voluntarily disclosed the names of their bundlers, Romney refuses to share this information, preferring to maintain a veil of secrecy over his fundraising operation. These bundlers are poised to get extraordinary access to Republican leaders and the man who may be president next year, but we aren’t allowed to know who they are.”
The NYTimes describes the complete access to power for the wealthiest — “Everybody was completely accessible,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and Romney fund-raiser who said the candidate took the time to warmly greet and thank him by his nickname, Mooch, at a dinner on the first night of the retreat. [...] Donors were unabashed about their desire to have face time with those who might constitute the brain trust in a Romney White House. David A. Wish, a Florida doctor and Romney fund-raiser, said that in order to sell the candidate to potential contributors, “we need one-on-one time with the people who make decisions.” [...] On Thursday night, Mr. Rove held court on a hotel balcony with about a half-dozen financial executives, who peppered him with questions about Mr. Romney’s chances… After Mr. Rove walked away, the gaggle of men excitedly recounted the conversation, reveling in their access. “That’s the price of admission right there,” one donor said to another. “Your six minutes with Rove.”
And, according to Buzzfeed, Bain was there — “Flight records passed along by a Democratic source show that the Bain Capital Jet company jet flew from Bedford, Massachusetts to airfield near Romney’s Utah donor retreat on Friday.”
Think Progress notes that Karl Rove’s participation at this event demonstrates Romney’s poor judgement and hypocrisy – A Saturday panel on “media insight” will feature American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS co-founder Karl Rove. The Crossroads reportedly plan to spend a stunning $300 million to help Romney defeat President Barack Obama this November, but they are legally prohibited from coordinating this effort with Romney’s campaign. [...] in December, Romney decried the rise of Super PACs like Rove’s American Crossroads, saying they have been a “disaster” for the political system. He said at the time: Super PACs have to be entirely separate from a campaign and a candidate. I’m not allowed to communicate with a super PAC in any way, shape or form… If we coordinate in any way whatsoever, we go to the big house.
Daily Intel reports: Conservative casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has reportedly pledged a total of $35 million to three conservative nonprofits: the Karl Rove–linked Crossroads GPS, an unspecified group with ties to the Koch brothers, and a third affiliated with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. This is in addition to the $10 million he gave to pro-Romney super-PAC Restoring Our Future last week… Sources say he’s ready to commit $100 million to right-wing causes and candidates this year.
Remember that $100 million to Sheldon Adelson is about $300 – $400 to an average family.
Additionally, John McCain said recently that Sheldon Adelson “is indirectly injecting millions of dollar in Chinese foreign money into Mitt Romney’s presidential election effort,” according to Josh Rogin.
Those facts would probably be reported more by the mainstream media, if all the billionaires didn’t own the mainstream media.
Earlier I posted that both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Wyoming almost-billionaire businessman Foster Friess were at the Faith and Freedom Conference yesterday. McConnell spoke about wanting to protect Republican donors from more disclosure laws — to protect them from “public scrutiny.” Friess talked about his plans to donate to Romney’s campaign ‘undercover,’ giving money to Romney superPACs through 501(c)4 organizations which wouldn’t disclose where the contributions came from.
After Neil Munro of the The Daily Caller heckled President Obama yesterday in the Rose Garden, during his address on immigration and the Dream Act, and Tucker Carlson (Munro’s boss) obviously approved, it’s worth noting that Foster Friess helped start the Daily Caller with $3 million in seed money — and continues to invest in it.
Video of the Day: In a serious breach of etiquette, Neil Munro heckled the president and was immediately condemned. This makes sense when you realize that the Daily Caller isn’t “reporting” news and isn’t a neutral media outlet in any way. The Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson, and Neil Munro take their marching orders from their owners like Foster Friess who have a clear political agenda and have enough money to make it happen.
Imagine the rending of garments on the conservative side, had this been done to a Republican president. Dixie Chicks, anyone?
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson “is indirectly injecting millions of dollar in Chinese foreign money into Mitt Romney’s presidential election effort,” Josh Rogin reports. (via: Political Wire):
“Much of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from his casino in Macau, which says that obviously, maybe in a roundabout way foreign money is coming into an American political campaign,” McCain said in an interview on PBS’s News Hour. “That is a great deal of money, and we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization… that we have to have a limit on the flow of money and corporations are not people,” he said. Adelson announced Thursday he would be giving $10 million to the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future, and reports stated his future contributions to pro-Romney groups could be “limitless.” [...] Romney has also come under criticism for his former corporation Bain Capital’s business ties to Chinese state-owned firms, some of which are linked to the Chinese military and simultaneously seek to acquire U.S. technology firms.
You have to wonder why McCain’s complaining. He’s been firmly on the side of ‘anything to win‘ and ‘politics before country‘ before.
Sam Stein reports on why Mitch McConnell wants to protect the very wealthy from your “scrutiny” and “backlash” –
In a series of speeches and interviews over the past day, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued against adding a further layer of disclosure to the campaign finance system, suggesting that the Obama administration would use it to browbeat political opponents.
The Kentucky Republican has long been one of Congress’ foremost advocates of a far-reaching interpretation of First Amendment rights. And his remarks, first to Fox News, then to the Faith and Freedom Conference and finally to the American Enterprise Institute, followed in that vein.
…Donors to politically active nonprofit groups, he said, do not deserve to be subjected to public scrutiny or backlash.
That’s really very interesting, considering that Buzzfeed (Romney’s personal online PR firm) is reporting that Santorum’s old sugar daddy, Foster Friess, says he’s going to donate to Romney’s campaign “undercover:”
“Well I’m going to do that more undercover, I’m going to do it through a lot of c4′s so it’s not so high profile,” Friess said at the Faith and Freedom Conference, where he is scheduled to speak on Saturday. “I was stunned to see how much attention — I had no idea what happened, I must have had 60 or 70 interviews.” “So I think if I do it through c4′s, I can keep a lower profile which is probably better.” Friess explained the tactic further. “If you give to a c4, it doesn’t get disclosed,” Friess said. ”If you give to a c4, it doesn’t get disclosed,” Friess said. “So if I give money to various organizations, nobody knows what I’m giving. Even my wife won’t know.”
Notice they were both at the Faith and Freedom Conference.
In his review of Paul Krugman’s and Timothy Noah’s books, Felix Salmon reflects on what’s happening with the wealthy and the rest of us today:
“Rich people have more power than poor people, and they use that power to get what they want — which is, normally, more wealth and more power. Across America, politicians invariably reflect the views of their richest constituents. And the Federal Reserve, too, appears to have been captured by the rich: It seems much more worried about the specter of possible future inflation (which might be bad for the rich) than it is about the tragedy of present-day unemployment (which is calamitous for today’s jobless)…. This is now a country run by the rich, for the rich. And nothing in either of these books gives me reason to believe that there’s any hope of changing that.”
Electing Mitt Romney would be that final nail in the coffin for those who aren’t wealthy.
As long as billionaires are essentially funding Mitt Romney’s campaign with $10 million donations, Barack Obama can fundraise with as many fashion designers and movie stars as he pleases. Because being bought by billionaires is not the same as getting help from Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker. Sorry, but it’s not. – via: inothernews
Political Wire: A well-placed source in the Sheldon Adelson camp tells Forbes that further donations from the casino billionaire to Super PACs supporting Mitt Romney will be “limitless.” The source says Adelson will do “whatever it takes” to defeat President Obama and that “no price is too high” to protect the U.S. from what he sees as Obama’s “socialization” of America.
What’s $100 million to Sheldon Adelson? As NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro notes today, $100 million constitutes the same percentage of Adelson’s wealth that $300 to $400 does for normal Americans. As Shapiro tweets: “Sheldon Adelson says he may spend $100m on this presidential race. As a % of wealth, that would be like a typical US family giving $360.” — The Atlantic
image: Mother Jones