Monday, February 17, 2020

The Democrats Billionaire Donors - Buying Influence for the 2020 Election

In this posting, I want to take a look at how America's billionaires are attempting to influence American politics in their favour by supporting Democratic presidential hopefuls.  I will focus on the three top candidates thus far: Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren and a selection of their billionaire donors.  Please note that the contribution limit to candidates is set at $2800 per person by the Federal Elections Committee, explaining why there are a number of donor couples that have donations totalling $5600 as shown here:

1.) Bernie Sanders: No billionaire donors.  According to Forbes, when the Sanders campaign discovered that Marta Thoma Hall, wife of David Hall the billionaire founder of Velodyne Lidar, had donated to their campaign, they agreed to return her donation (which no longer appears on the Open Secrets website as you can see here). 

2.) Pete Buttigieg: His billionaire supporters include:

Len and Emily Blavatnik - $1200 (also donated $2800 to Joe Biden)

Christopher McKown (husband of Agibail Johnson head of Fidelity Investments) - $5600

Wendy Schmidt (wife of Eric Schmidt of Google) - $5600

David Geffen - $5600

Katharine Rayner (heiress of Cox Enterprises) - $5600 ($2800 to Joe Biden)

Daniel Ziff (heir of publisher William Ziff) - $2800

Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix) - $5600

Daryl Roth (wife of Trump business partner Steve Roth) - $2800

Jennifer Pritzker - (former Trump supporter) - $1,000

Effective December 2019, a total of 24 billionaires had donated to Pete Buttigieg's campaign.  

3.) Elizabeth Warren - Her billionaire supporters include only four names:

Craig Newmark (founder of Craigs List) - $2800 ($2800 to Kamala Harris)

Alexander Rales (son of Steven Rales of Danaher Corporation) - $282

Chris Sacca (founder of Lowercase Capital) - $2800

Chris Sacca also donated $2800 to Beto O'Rourke, $2700 to Kamala Harris and $2800 to Pete Buttigieg.  In addition, we find that Crystal Sacca, the wife of Chris Sacca, also donated $2800 to Elizabeth Warren and, like her husband, Crystal Sacca donated to multiple Democratic presidential candidates; $2800 to Pete Buttigieg, $2800 to Joe Biden, $5400 to Kamala Harris and $2800 to Beto O'Rourke.

As the weeks pass, I will update this posting to show us all how America's billionaire class has been very busy investing in America's political theatre, no doubt, for their own benefit because after all, a billion dollars is never enough.

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