To date, I've posted on the funds raised by Super PACs for Mitt Romney and Barak Obama and in this posting, I'd like to add the Santorum Red White and Blue Fund to the list.
Red White and Blue, an Alexandria, Virginia-based Super PAC is relatively small by comparison to those PACs that support Mitt Romney, Barak Obama or Newt Gingrich. Here is a Summary Report for Red White and Blue to the end of January 2012:
Here is a breakdown of the individual donors to the Fund:
Red White and Blue has raised a rather healthy $2,817,675 from 42 individual contributions (some donors have donated up to four times leaving us with 29 different donors) since November 3rd, 2011 for an average donation of $97,161,21 per donor. This number is skewed by three very large donations; one for a million dollars from William J. Dore, four from Foster Friess totalling a million dollars and three from Dr. John (Jack) Templeton as shown in this chart:
The three aforementioned donors have contributed a total of $2.265 million or 80.4 percent of the total raised by Red White and Blue Fund.
Who exactly are these three gentlemen? While we may be familiar with the Templeton surname, most of us are unfamiliar with Foster Friess and William Dore.
William Dore lists himself as President of the privately-owned Dore Energy Corporation located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. According to Forbes, Mr. Dore was the CEO and Founder of Global Industries, a diving contractor, until his retirement in May 2007 when he sold Global Industries for $2 billion (reportedly, he pocketed $700 million of that). According to Vanity Fair, in 2008, he came in at number 39 among American executives who cashed in their company stock, netting $218 million for that year. Mr Dore is an unknown quantity (try Googling his name and see how few hits there are) and has been very quiet about his contribution to the Red White and Blue Fund. He is politically quite flexible, having donated to both Republican and Democratic causes in the past. As well, here is a link to information regarding their family foundation, the Dore Family Foundation, which has assets of just over $16 million.
On to the next big donor. Mr. Foster Friess is a self-made businessman who founded Friess Associates in 1974 and launched the "Brandywine Fund", one of the 1990s top mutual funds. According to the Wall Street Journal and Wealth-X, Mr. Friess is worth $530 million, not quite a member of America's billionaires club but who's counting when you're more than half way there?
Here, in his own words, is what he attributes his success and motivation to:
"Amidst this professional success, Foster says that his personal life struggled. Behind the scenes, he had “a marriage flirting with divorce and emotionally distant children.” Facing these challenges and bored with his success, he was receptive to Blaise Pascal’s notion: “Within each person is a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill.”
In October of 1978, Foster says, “I did one of those ‘born again’ things and invited Jesus to become the ‘Chairman of the Board; of my life,” a decision to which he credits all subsequent successes, including those which saw the firm grow to a $15 billion portfolio and his personal relationships restored.
Foster has devoted significant resources to philanthropy. In 1999, the “Champ” himself awarded Foster the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award, and in 2000, at the National Charity Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., Foster was named the “Humanitarian of the Year,” following in the footsteps of Coretta Scott King, Bob Hope, President George H.W. Bush, and Lady Bird Johnson. In 2009, Foster received the “Benefactor of the Year” Paul Weyrich Award. In 2010, he received the “Spirit of the Children Award,” given annually to Childhelp supporters who have generously given their time and good fortune to children’s causes."
In looking through his website, he makes it quite clear exactly what he does and does not believe in. Here are a few examples:
1.) He does not believe in global climate change. In one of his postings, he uses a survey of meteorologists as backup for his beliefs, quoting an article that states that only 19 percent of meteorologists believe that human influence is the main cause of "climate change", including a quote from the founder of the Weather Channel, John Coleman, who states that "global warming...is a scam". Mr. Friess makes one common error; he misunderstands the difference between meteorologists who examine very short-term weather compared to climatologists who study the very long term weather patterns that comprise climate.
2.) Mr. Freiss promotes small government including non-interference in health care and putting it into the private sector. Here's a quote from his website "...a government that controls your health, essentially controls you.". He wishes to promote patient-driven health care by emphasizing Health Savings Accounts, divorcing health insurance from employment and posting prices and outcomes so Americans consume health care resources more thoughtfully. I guess that's pretty easy for a multi-millionaire to say.
3.) Mr. Friess wants to promote private sector solutions to the problems facing America's educational system. He states that the "...stranglehold that teachers' unions have on our nation's public schools has stifled success. Unfortunately, many would rather keep everyone down, at the same level, than encourage success wherever possible.". He goes on to note that charter schools are much more efficient at turning around failing school districts than the Federal government and that the breakdown of the nuclear family in America has increased educational problems. To make himself even more popular with underpaid educators across the country, Mr. Friess provides a link to an article that states that 96 percent of Americans mistakenly underestimate teacher's salaries.
One last remark made by Foster Friess is worth including in this posting:
I guess that pretty much says it all. I just love the pregnant (pardon the weak pun) pause from Andrea Mitchell who, apparently, cannot believe what she has just heard! Yes ladies, you too can buy an entire bottle of birth control aspirin for a couple of measly dollars at just about any general merchandise, grocery or drug store in the United States...and without a prescription! Even better, a length of double-faced tape between one's knees may work just as well.
I think that's enough of Mr. Friess for this posting. To say that he leans to the right politically is quite apparent from the tone of his website and his remarks to the media.
Now, let's move along to Mr. Santorum's last big individual donor, Dr. John (Jack) Templeton. Jack Templeton is the son of John Templeton, founder of the John Templeton Foundation, and a retired medical doctor with a specialty in pediatric surgery. He is now the President and Chairman of the foundation and it is his name that appears on the FEC Summary Report for Red White and Blue. Jack's father, Sir John Templeton, was the founder of some of the world's largest and most successful international investment funds including the Templeton Growth Fund. He founded the Templeton Prize, the world's largest annual award (£1,000,000) which honours a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension. Here's a quote about his belief system from the Templeton Foundation website:
"Although Sir John was a Presbyterian elder and active in his denomination (also serving on the board of the American Bible Society), he espoused what he called a "humble approach" to theology. Declaring that relatively little is known about the divine through scripture and present-day theology, he predicted that "scientific revelations may be a gold mine for revitalizing religion in the 21st century." To his mind, "All of nature reveals something of the creator. And god is revealing himself more and more to human inquiry, not always through prophetic visions or scriptures but through the astonishingly productive research of modern scientists."
Sir John's own theological views conformed to no orthodoxy, and he was eager to learn not just from science but from all of the world's faith traditions. As he once told an interviewer, "I grew up as a Presbyterian. Presbyterians thought the Methodists were wrong. Catholics thought all Protestants were wrong. The Jews thought the Christians were wrong. So, what I'm financing is humility. I want people to realize that you shouldn't think you know it all."" (my bold)
Actually, that is rather refreshing compared to many right-leaning fundamentalists who believe that science has absolutely nothing to offer the spiritual world and that their worldview is the only correct worldview.
In 1987, Sir John founded the John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic foundation that supports "...research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love and free will.". According to the Foundation Centre, the John Templeton Foundation is the 40th largest foundation in the United States with assets of $1.689 billion at the end of 2009. It is, however, not in the top one hundred donating foundations in America.
According to their website, the largest of the foundation's Core Funding Areas is "Science and the Big Questions"which funds research about the "...basic forces, concepts and realities governing the universe and humankind's place in the universe." The foundation also funds "Character Development", "Freedom and Free Enterprise" which seeks to establish the conditions necessary to create profitable enterprises, "Exceptional Cognitive Talent and Genius" which seeks to nurture young people who demonstrate execptional talent in mathematics and science and, lastly, "Genetics" which, at this point in time, is funding research that will answer the question of the use of genetically modified crops to feed the world. Not surprisingly, nowhere on the foundation's website does it say anything about supporting any political party or politician of any persuasion, in fact, it seems that Sir John went out of his way to ensure that his mind was open to any new idea that might benefit mankind as a whole.
The entire American political system is under siege since the Supreme Court Citizens United decision in 2010. From what we have learned over the past few weeks, politics in America is now in the hands of the billionaires, near billionaires and their proxies who can afford to fund their own agenda. Unfortunately for those of us who live on Main Street, when a fraction of the less than 400 American billionaires are controlling the nation's political agenda, populist democracy is on the ropes. Apparently, no matter how much we may protest, the 0.0013 percent are increasingly wresting control from the 99.9987 percent of us.