George Soros just donated another $6 million to Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Super Political Action Committee, raising the total the billionaire has contributed thus far to her 2016 campaign to $7 million. Liberals and progressives who can be counted on to hyperventilate every time the Koch brothers drop a dollar into a Salvation Army drum haven’t made a peep. They’ve also been remarkably silent on other donations to Clinton’s Priorities USA SuperPac, including $5 million from Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl; $2.3 million from Laurie Woods; and $2.5 million from Donald Sussman.
And I shall join the liberals and progressives in their chorus of silence, because, unlike them, your writer prefers intellectual consistency. So, you go, George Soros! And, likewise, Mr. and Ms. Saban, Ms. Woods and Mr. Sussman. Last, but not least, let’s hear it for the Koch brothers! Because each and every one of the above-listed donors are exercising their First Amendment free-speech rights, which were girded by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
However, liberals and progressives don’t see it that way when donations don’t go their way. For example the left-leaning investors affiliated with religious shareholder activists As You Sow seemingly can’t abide corporate donations in the political game when it’s their respective ox that’s gored, namely anyone who disagrees with their views on climate change, social issues, genetically modified organisms and, you guessed it, Citizens United.
Here’s an example from an AYS proxy resolution submitted to DuPont:
“Using corporate funds to influence any political election” for purposes of this proposal, includes any direct or indirect contribution using corporate funds that is intended to influence the outcome of an election or referendum. This includes independent expenditures, electioneering communications, and issue advocacy that can reasonably be interpreted as in support or opposition of a specific candidate or ballot measure. The policy should include measures, to the greatest extent practical, to prevent trade associations or non-profit corporations from channeling our company’s contributions or membership dues to influence the outcome of any election or referendum….
“Corporate money in politics is a controversial subject. Since the high-profile U.S. Supreme Court Case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporate contributions to election campaigns have skyrocketed. Experts have estimated that a record-breaking $6.3 billion was spent in the 2012 electoral cycle, an increase of nearly 15% from 2008. These developments are deeply unpopular among the U.S. public across party lines, and consequently expose companies to considerable risks associated with attempts to influence controversial election outcomes.
Before AYS can lift themselves from their self-imposed rhetorical fainting couch, they might want to read last weekend’s Wall Street Journal wherein Bradley Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, sets the record straight on campaign financing:
Hillary Clinton has tons of cash, but she can’t shake off Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump keeps threatening to spend his own money, but he hasn’t had to use much of it. He’s leading the Republican field, feasting on free media coverage, while spending a fraction of what his rivals, and super PACs promoting them, have spent. If his rivals hadn’t been able raise large sums the GOP race would probably be over—Mr. Trump’s celebrity, name recognition and charisma would already have carried the day.
Apparently oblivious to the failure of “big money” to dictate the race, the goo-goos—the good-government crowd—have cranked up the same theme they use every election year. “We must,” they say, “have campaign finance reform.” We must “get money out of politics.” The Supreme Court must reverse its 2010 decision in Citizens United and allow “reasonable” regulation of campaign finance.
I might add that AYS and its partners in the anti-Citizens United crusade never mention limits on celebrity endorsements for candidates. Certainly having Bruce Springsteen in his camp presented some lift to President Obama in elections past, I would imagine. There must be somebody out there who can put a dollar value on the Boss making personal appearances on Obama’s behalf. Not that I care – I really don’t – but then I’m consistent that way. The goo-goos at AYS? Not so much.