We’ve written extensively about this heightened environment of influence-buying in American politics. Over in the Third Congressional District GOP primary, we’ve got a clear example of deep-pocketed influence-peddlers in DC and New York trying to buy a congressional seat.
We took a look at the Griffin campaign’s October 15 quarterly report to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Here are some of the interesting things we found:
- Total Receipts – $117,424
- Total from Individuals – $105,424
- Total Itemized from Individuals – $103,300
- Total Contributing (Itemized) – 76 individuals
- Total from PACS – $12,000
- List of donors includes 17 lobbyists, 15 attorneys and 8 financial industry figures
Okay. That’s the big picture. Let’s drill down a little further:
- 67 of 76 (88%) of individual itemized contributors to Griffin were from outside Third District.
- $98,300 of $103,300 (95 percent) individual contributions from outside the Third District.
- Eight donors individually gave more than the entire Third District. (The Third has coughed up $5,000 to Griffin through October 15.) Six of these eight are from New York City. Seven of the eight are involved in the hedge fund industry (Wall Street). Three of the eight are billionaires.
- Donations to Griffin from New York City ($32,400) were SIX TIMES the total donated to the challenger from within the Third District.
- Washington D.C.- based donors gave Griffin ($31,000) more than SIX TIMES times the total amount donated to the challenger from within the Third District.
- Thirteen contributors, all from out of state, gave more than $2,500 to Griffin. Those thirteen people combined for $53,900 — 52 percent of Griffin’s total haul.
The report includes FOUR — count ’em — FOUR billionaires:
- Seth Klarman of the Boston-based Baupost Group, a hedge-fund manager
- John Paulson of Paulson & Co. (He gave the largest donation EVER to Harvard, and dropped a cool ONE MILLION DOLLARS on the RNC.)
- Paul Singer of NYC’s Elliott Management Co. — a hedge fund group. (He’s a big backer of gay rights and amnesty for illegals. A well-known bundler for candidates — including Thom Tillis — seeking to go to Capitol Hill. We could tie $27,000 of Griffin’s campaign haul to Singer associates.)
- Ethan Penner of Mosaic Real Estate Investors credited as the “father” of the modern day mortgage-backed securities industry.
Another interesting facet of the Griffin campaign report is the number of people with no employer identification. We found seven large donors who were marked “information requested.” Well — thanks to Google — we can supply the information:
- Seth Klarman is described by Forbes as an “investing legend.” The Boston-area billionaire hedge fund manager gave the Griffin campaign $5,400.
- Daniel Senor of New York City gave $5,400 to the Griffin campaign. If you watched the news during the early days of the Iraq occupation, you would recognize him as the chief spokesman for The Coalition. Senor is married to former NBC and CNN personality Campbell Brown, and is employed by Elliott Management, a hedge fund manager.
- Sarah Stern of New York City is the chairman of The Hudson Institute — a conservative think tank. She has given Griffin $5400.
- Anne Dickerson of New York City is professional political fundraiser with ties to Rudy Giuliani and the Bush family. She gave Griffin $2700.
- Diane Tomb of Arlington, Virginia gave Griffin $250. She is a lobbyist and former assistant secretary of HUD.
- Richard Viola of Charlotte is an attorney with McGuire Woods — a politically influential mega law firm. He gave $500.
- Samuel Stronach is a Wilson-based real estate developer. He gave $500 to the Griffin campaign. (Given that Griffin is FROM Wilson and should know this guy, this one is particularly perplexing.)
Last, but not least, let’s look at the donors with ties to John Boehner:
- Sam Geduldig ($1000) is a lobbyist specializing in banking and financial services. He once served as Boehner’s senior political director.
- Will Kinzel ($1000) is a former senior aide to Boehner.
- Jeffrey Strunk ($1000) is a former deputy floor director for Boehner.