Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hosted an informative hearing on proposals to amend the U.S. Constitution in the wake of the Citizens United ruling and the rise of "Super PACs". For those of you who haven't heard, Citizens United overturned the provision of McCain-Feingold barring corporations and unions from paying for political ads made independently of candidate campaigns.
Following the hearing, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington denigrated the Cato Institute's Ilya Shapiro who testified in favor of unlimited contributions to candidates saying that Shapiro "continued to peddle the tired canard that disclosing contributions would expose contributors to harassment, boycotts and intimidation."
But, that's exactly what happened earlier this week when Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who also testified at the hearing, released his list of 23 billionaires who have contributed $250,000 or more during this campaign cycle to "SuperPACs". Sanders has accused these billionaires of "buying the 2012 elections".
While Republicans seem to have the advantage in terms of fundraising, we couldn't believe the usual Democratic suspects were absent from the list. Where is George Soros and the Hollywood elite when you need them? We were worried (for the Democrats) that they might be sitting this election out since Obama has been such a trainwreck. But, we were wrong and Rep. Sanders may have "forgotten" to include Democratic donors from his list. Below is a list of top Democratic donors who have given in the ballpark of those on Sanders' list (we've included their companies and total amount donated to liberal causes for flavor):
- Fred Eychaner, NewsWeb Corp, $3.6 million
- Amy Goldman, Sol Goldman Investments, $2.5 million
- Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dreamworks, $2.4 million
- James Simons, Renaissance Technology, $2.2 million
- Irwin Jacobs, Qualcomm, $2.2 million
- Haim Saban, Saban Capital, $2.2 million
- Steve Mostyn, Mostyn Law Firm, $1.6 million
- Don Sussman, Paloma Partners, $1.5 million
- Anne Earheart, investor, $1.5 million
- George Soros, Whatever He Does, $1.2 million
We understand that it must be tough for Democrats currently to be in second place in fundraising due to their terrible public policy stances. Afterall, they're all so used to dominating in the big money and special interests game. In fact, recently, the Denver Post analyzed Super PAC money and found the SuperPAC spending wasn't even close
"Colorado's version of liberal super PACs spent nearly 150 times more money than their Republican counterparts in the last election cycle, with most of the money coming from a small circle of unions, wealthy individuals and advocacy organizations, a Denver Post analysis found."
So, when Democrats start crying foul in terms of donations and spending, it's pretty tough for Republicans in Colorado, who have been witness to the big money game for nearly a decade, to take the whining seriously.
But, even more troubling than the pot calling the kettle black, is how far Democrats and their allies will go to intimidate Republican donors. In fact, when Obama tried to pull similar shenanigans earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal called him out on it:
"…President Barack Obama, the most powerful man on the planet, singles you out by name. His campaign brands you a Romney donor, shames you for "betting against America," and accuses you of having a "less-than-reputable" record. The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money. Are you worried?"
The only ones who should be worried should be the Democrats who seem to have forgotten the rules to their own game.