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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

GOP campaign financing: Part 1

GOP campaign financing: Part 1 ~ Chris Christie

photo credit: blogs.wsj.com

ConservativeTreehouse concludes that the January GOP debate will narrow the field to six: Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Bush, and Christie.  As that number is considerably more manageable, we can start to look more closely at the candidates' campaign funding sources. Starting with Christie, from the factivist bloga September 2014 New York Times article
featured a story about Chris Christie’s continued refusal to include New Jersey in a regional anti-climate change partnership that New Jersey itself helped found in 2005. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a multi-state entity that seeks to reduce emissions in partner states to mitigate the damage of climate change. New Jersey’s legislature has voted twice for the state to rejoin RGGI, and Christie has vetoed that legislation both times – despite evidence that leaving the partnership has cost New Jersey more than $100 million.
Because the Big Money donors like the Koch Brothers that bankrolled his efforts – and he hopes will bankroll his presidential campaign – wanted him to.
Since then, OpenSecrets  identifies the America Leads PAC as Christie’s biggest source of funds, over $11 million to date. What is the America Leads PAC?
Open Secrets has a list of all the major PACS here. Most of the names sound generic or innocuous, so one has to dig a bit more. Fortunately, several major bloggers have been doing just that, and here’s what we know from a Politico blog about America Leads PAC
Donors to the America Leads PAC, which raised $11 million,  were disclosed for the first time Friday. Among them were several billionaires and several companies with million of dollars in state contracts would have been barred from giving to Christie’s gubernatorial campaigns. 
Winecup-Gamble Inc., a Nevada ranch owned by former Reebok CEO Paul Fireman, gave the group $1 million. Fireman, who lives outside Boston, plans a massive, $4.6 billion casino in Jersey City if state voters approve a constitutional amendment to allow gambling outside of Atlantic City. 
Christie said in May that he favors letting voters decide whether to allow gambling outside of Atlantic City, after he had previously opposed allowing it. Fireman, who with his family has begun making donations to many New Jersey candidates, made the donation to America Leads on June 25.
Las Vegas casino mogul Stephen Wynn, who is not currently involved in the New Jersey gambling industry, gave $25,000.
Hedge fund manager Steve Cohen and his wife Alexandra were the super PAC's biggest backers, giving a combined $2 million.
Another major donor was Quicken Loans chairman Daniel Gilbert, who gave $750,000.
Home Depot founder Ken Langone, who has been one of Christie’s biggest backers, gave $250,000, and Anheuser-Busch heir August Busch gave $100,000.
Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman chipped in $100,000. So did Christie’s brother Todd.
Wrestling mogul Linda McMahon, who ran twice for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut, donated $250,000.
George Harms Construction, which in 2014 had more than $100 million in contracts with several state agencies, gave $25,000. Ferreira Construction, which made more than $34 million from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority in 2014, gave $100,000.
Public Service Enterprise Group, which as a regulated utility also would have been barred from giving to Christie’s gubernatorial campaign, gave $250,000.
The link to the FEC source, hyperlinked above, is here
Christie has almost no chance of becoming the presidential candidate. According to Conservative Treehouse, his role in the primary campaign is the same as the many of the remaining candidates in the GOPe field (such as Fiorina, Huckabee, Kasich, Rubio) each of whose role is to split GOP primary votes in particular states to lead to a Jeb! nomination.

To be continued…

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