Saturday, October 17, 2015

The haves #2: Do sources of money predict candidates' allegiances?

With Hillary polling well nationally, one can only hope not. Here are snippets from an article in Common Dreams.

While the 2016 U.S. presidential election fundraising numbers released Thursday by the Bernie Sanders campaign illustrate the power of a Main Street donor base, filings from Republican Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary Clinton show their campaigns continue to be the darlings of Wall Street.

The Sanders campaign relies on small donors

"What is really remarkable is the breadth of support for Bernie from so many people responding to his call for a political revolution to stand up for the middle class and take on the billionaire class," said campaign manager Jeff Weaver.

"Bernie’s big base of small donors may give again and again. What is clear now is that this campaign to transform America will have the resources to fight all the way to the convention."
—Jeff Weaver, campaign manager
"Other campaigns are bankrolled by big donors who have given so much even under our current corrupt political system they can’t legally give any more," Weaver added. "Bernie’s big base of small donors may give again and again. What is clear now is that this campaign to transform America will have the resources to fight all the way to the convention."

However, warned Common Cause researcher Jay Riestenberg on Friday, "The question now for Sanders and [Republican candidate Ben] Carson is how long they can remain competitive when their opponents are collecting and stockpiling million-dollar checks in supposedly 'independent' super PACs and politically active non-profit groups, both of which can accept unlimited gifts from individuals, groups and corporations."

The Clinton Wall Street connection

Super PACs backing various candidates have collected more than $300 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and have spent less than 10 percent of the total. Two such groups supporting Bush reported more than $100 million in donations as of the end of June and two groups aligned with Clinton reported more than $22 million at the same time. The next super PAC reports are not due until early next year.

Wall Street's support for its former champion in the U.S. Senate, Clinton, is not surprising, despite her recent pledges to get tough on corporate malfeasance and Wall Street greed.

"She’s doing that because of Bernie," Camden Fine, the head of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said in an interview with Morning Consult this week. "She’s gonna all of a sudden become Mrs. Wall Street if she’s elected. So it’s all Bernie theatrics right now. She’s a Clinton, for God’s sake. What do you expect?"

Sure, I know that's harsh. But in this game, in order to understand political allegiances, you have to follow the money. Those that take it, as Molly Ivins once observed about another political clan, "gotta dance with them that brung ya."

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