Posts Tagged ‘Walker’

Follow The Money—If You Can

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022

As we do our best to make some sense of the deep polarization that has overspread America in the 21st century, we could do worse than look to a leader from the 19th for guidance, President Ulysses S. Grant. In 1875, as he neared the end of his second term and America approached the hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Grant predicted the next civil war would be “between patriotism and intelligence on one side, and superstition, ambition, and ignorance on the other.”

The events leading up to and including the January 6th insurrection proved him right.

Grant was certainly prescient, but to his “superstition, ambition, and ignorance” I would add greed and a thirst for power. These five iniquities characterize how we have come to this point in our history, and at least four of them are present in the current senatorial contest in Georgia that pits Republican Herschel Walker against the incumbent, Democrat Raphael Warnock, a Baptist Minister.

I wrote about this contest last week. In that column I tried to peel the Herschel Walker onion to show the lies and disgusting hypocrisy surrounding his candidacy. I wrote the contest had

“nothing to do with Herschel Walker and everything to do with taking control of the US Senate. Even if Walker proved to be the second coming of Jack The Ripper, hard core Republicans in Georgia and around the country would continue to support him. It’s not that they don’t believe the latest allegations, they just don’t care about them. Controlling both the House and the Senate overrides everything.”

To go deeper, we now have the story of the money, which, in 2022, appears the governing factor in who gets elected—anywhere.

Although it has spent and committed more than $10 million to the Walker campaign, the biggest spender in the senate race is not the National Republican Senatorial Fund (NRSC), the fund overseen by Florida’s Senator Rick Scott whom Mitch McConnell put in charge of taking back the Senate. Scott planned to be at a rally supporting Walker last night. I’m betting there wasn’t much said about what appears to be Walker’s abortion lies.

And, although it has also spent in the millions, the biggest donor is not 34N22, a Super PAC dedicated to electing Walker to the Senate and controlled by his campaign. No, the biggest spender in support of Walker is not the NRSC, 34N22, or the total of all the rank and file who, bathed in ignorance, have dug deep, dipping into their cookie jars of savings in response to the daily emails asking for more.

The biggest spender aimed at getting Herschel Walker shoehorned into the US Senate so Republicans can once again assume control is the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), the Super PAC controlled by Mitch McConnell. The SLF has already booked $37.1 million in TV ads in support of Walker. This doesn’t count the millions more that SLF has spent online.

But what, or who, is the Senate Leadership Fund?

The SLF is a mix of exceedingly wealthy individuals, Fortune 500 corporations, and one, huge non-profit.

Here’s a look at the individuals and corporations, and what they have given, reported originally by Judd Legum’s Popular Information, a newsletter dedicated to accountability journalism:

$10,000,000: Private equity billionaire Stephen A. Schwarzman, a longtime friend and advisor to Trump and co-founder of private equity giant Blackstone. In 2010, Newsweek reported Schwarzman had compared Obama’s effort to eliminate tax loopholes for private equity managers to “Hilter’s invasion of Poland.”

$10,000,000Kenneth Griffin, the billionaire CEO of Citadel, a hedge fund. In a 2012 interview, Griffin said that the “ultrawealthy” did not have enough influence on politics. In 2008, Griffin’s highly leveraged hedge fund came near to collapsing, and, were it not for government bailouts, it would have.

$4,000,000: Occidental Petroleum, a Fortune 500 fossil fuel company and one of the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gases.

$3,000,000: Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer. Known as a “philosopher-king type of person,” Singer is perhaps the most brilliant person in the hedge fund business, exemplified by his firm’s impressive performance in the 2008 economic collapse when it only lost 3% of its value. Singer fiercely opposes raising taxes on billionaires and other exceedingly wealthy individuals, while showing little sympathy for the plight of the 99%. “Resentment is not morally superior to earning money,” Singer has written. What is a “moral failing,” according to him, is “depreciation in paper money’s value.”

$2,000,000: Bernie Marcus, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot and one of Trump’s largest donors.  Marcus stopped working at Home Depot in 2002, and the company has tried to distance itself from him and Herschel Walker, saying on its Twitter feed, “Hi, we have not contributed to this campaign.” This is deceitful, because Home Depot has made significant contributions to PACs spending millions of dollars to elect Walker. Home Depot is a perfect example of how a corporation can honestly say it hasn’t directly contributed to a campaign, while actually having indirectly done so by writing checks to PACs that support the particular campaign. Republicans are not the only Party doing this.

$2,000,000: Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire chairman of Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox News.

$1,500,000: Chevron Corporation, the second largest fossil fuel corporation in the United States. The second-largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in history.

$1,000,000: Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by right-wing billionaire Charles Koch. In 2020, Koch said he “screw[ed] up” by supporting Tea Party Republicans and vowed to be a “uniter” in the future. He’s certainly united groups of far-right Republicans.

$1,000,000: American Petroleum Institute, a lobbying group representing the fossil fuel industry.

$500,000: Anschutz Corporationthe parent company of Coachella and other popular music festivals and concerts. These funds came directly from the Anschutz Corporation’s corporate treasury and not an employee-funded PAC.

$500,000: Philip Anschutz, the CEO of the Anschutz Corporation and a prolific donor to right-wing political causes.

Then there is the biggest donor to the Senate Leadership Fund. It is the non-profit One Nation, and it, like the SLF, is run by Steven Law, a former Chief of Staff to Mitch McConnell. Thus far, One Nation has donated $33.5 million to the SLF. One Nation has also spent millions in TV and online ads supporting Walker. However, One Nation is organized as a 501(c)4 non-profit, which means that, compliments of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United, it is allowed to keep its donors secret. That means many of the largest supporters of the Senate Leadership Fund—and, therefore, the Walker campaign—are unknown.

And they always will be.