South Carolina primaries plutocracy

This video from the USA is called Laid Off Steelworker: Mitt Romney, Bain Capital Profited By Shutting Down Kansas Steel Plant.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Millions poured into South Carolina primary campaign

19 January 2012

Spending in the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina has broken all records, as multi-millionaire candidates and their billionaire backers pour in resources to influence the comparative handful of people who will participate in the January 21 voting.

The State, the biggest daily newspaper in South Carolina, reported that more than $11 million had been spent on TV ads alone, with more than a full week of campaigning still to go. The majority of the ads attacked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on behalf of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has a narrow lead in the polls.

Total outlays could well top $20 million, in a state where a bit more than 440,000 took part in the Republican presidential primary four years ago. The price tag of $50 a vote would make South Carolina less expensive than the Iowa caucuses, where nearly $100 per vote was spent by the rival candidates and the “super PACs” backing them.

The super PACs are secretive organizations made legal by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in early 2010, which barred any restrictions on spending by corporations and wealthy individuals on behalf of their favored candidates. While the rich cannot give the unlimited sums directly to the candidates, they can funnel the money to a political action committee that is nominally independent of the candidate, usually established by former aides and associates.

The best-funded super PAC is Restore Our Future, chartered by former Romney aides, which has spent $7.8 million in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina through last week. At least four donations of $1 million have been reported in the press: from John Paulson, the wealthiest hedge fund operator; Edward Conard, a former executive with Bain Capital, Romney’s private equity firm; Paul Edgerley, another financier with Bain ties; and J. Willard and Richard Marriott, the two brothers who control the giant hotel chain.

Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire proprietor of the Sands casino and other Las Vegas properties, has given the largest single donation to a super PAC, a $5 million check to Winning Our Future, which backs Gingrich. This single donation revived the Gingrich campaign after it was devastated by Romney-inspired attack ads in Iowa.

The Red, White and Blue Fund has spent at least $800,000 already in South Carolina promoting former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. The super PAC is largely funded by Foster Friess, a billionaire mutual fund manager from Wyoming. Friess is a longtime associate of the Koch brothers, the ultra-right oil billionaires who are the biggest single financial backers of the Tea Party movement.

Koch Brothers in Battle With Cato Institute Over Control. Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times News Service: “From its perch in a spacious brand-new headquarters blocks from the White House, the Cato Institute has built on its reputation as a venerable libertarian research center unafraid to cross party lines. Now, however, a rift with one of its founding members – the billionaire conservative Charles Koch – is threatening the institute’s identity and independence, its leaders say, and is exposing fault lines over Mr. Koch’s aggressive and well-financed brand of Republican politics”: here.

The Koch Brothers Go After Actor Zach Galifianakis and the Film “The Campaign”: here.

8 thoughts on “South Carolina primaries plutocracy


    As the anniversary of the infamous Citizens United decision nears (January 21), you can count on Jim Hightower to stick it to the Supreme Court (5-4 corporate majority): “If a corporation is a person, where’s its navel?”

    Although Citizens United is generally considered the most recent apogee of the expanding legal concept of corporate personhood, it was – on a more focused level – a case about campaign financing. What the ruling did was nullify a section of the McCain-Feingold election financing reform law. In overturning a District of Columbia federal court ruling, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates of corporate, union and Super PAC expenditures in elections as “third parties.”

    Indeed, Justice Stevens wrote in his dissent from the Citizens United ruling:

    At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.

    The Citizens United decision was really representative of just one part of the growing influence of corporations and big money on our government. However, the danger of corporate personhood as a legally enshrined precedent is hydra-headed.

    “I’ll believe in corporate personhood when one of them is executed in Texas.” That’s a quip that caromed around the Internet a few weeks back.

    BuzzFlash at Truthout doesn’t support capital punishment, but it would be nice to see a few corporate CEO’s hauled into court and held accountable as persons for corporate misdeeds.

    The best place to start is with Wall Street. If advocates for democracy can get arrested and sentenced for protesting, it’s time to put the persons running predatory big business on trial for laws that they have broken.

    That would begin to make the people behind corporate personhood no longer placed above the law.

    Meanwhile, if we are going to stop corporations and big money from continuing to buy our government, campaign finance reform remains of the highest priority.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


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  3. Dear Friend,

    Billionaire oil tycoons Charles and David Koch continue shunning transparency. What are they hiding?

    The Koch brothers have refused to answer fundamental questions about how they stand to gain financially from the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a 1,700-mile long boondoggle that will make the Kochs richer.

    Rep. Henry Waxman has invited the Koch brothers to testify before Congress, but the Kochs’ allies in Congress are dragging out the process.

    See our latest video, including the outburst from an acrimonious Congressional hearing, then take action and insist the Koch brothers testify in Congress.

    The Koch brothers have entrenched allies on Capitol Hill who’re doing everything they can to stonewall oversight. On the key committee with jurisdiction over energy issues, the Kochs and their employees were the largest oil and gas donor, giving a total of $282,700 to committee members.

    Join me in fighting back. Take action to insist the Koch brothers testify in Congress.

    Robert Greenwald
    and the Brave New Foundation team

    P.S. I invite you to join our Koch Brothers Exposed conversation on Facebook and engage with me on Twitter.


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  5. Yesterday we had the World Premiere of our Koch Brothers Exposed documentary in New York City just a few miles from one of the Kochs many homes. Instead of keeping this film in theaters, we are making it available immediately on DVD with an Action Guide so that you can watch with family and friends then do something to make a difference.

    Get the DVD now featuring expert interviews, investigative exposés, and extras about what these billionaire brothers are doing to our democracy. After you get the DVD please download the Action Guide which we have created with our partners Greenpeace, Campaign for America’s Future, NAACP, Democracy for America and Advancement Project.

    We are up against a mega-rich foe with an elitist attitude. Charles Koch is credited as saying, “I just want my fair share, and that’s all of it”. We need your help to combat these billionaires actions. Sign up to hold a House Screening or go to the Screening page to attend one in your neighborhood. After watching, we encourage you to discuss the film with your family and friends then look through the Action Guide to decide on which actions you can agree to do. With your help we can start to reverse the damage that has been done.

    Thank you for being a part of this movement. Together we can make sure that the 1% is not controlling our democracy.

    Robert Greenwald

    I invite you to join Koch Brothers Exposed on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


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