Monday, December 3, 2012

Big Money

Lee Fang at The Nation finds out who the big backers of Grover Norquist are.

I took a look at the last available budget numbers for Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist’s group. Though they do not reveal their donors, we can cobble together much of Norquist’s donors using foundations and other nonprofits that donate money to him.

The disclosures show that only two billionaire-backed groups have provided over 66 percent of Norquist’s funding:

The Center to Protect Patients Rights donated $4,189,000 to Americans for Tax Reform in 2010, 34 percent of the group’s budget that year.

Crossroads GPS donated $4,000,000 to Americans for Tax Reform in 2010, 32.46 percent of the group’s budget that year.

The Center to Protect Patients Rights is the foundation used by the billionaire clique led by the Koch brothers to distribute grants to allied groups. In 2010, wealthy moguls like Steve Bechtel of Bechtel Corporation and Steve Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group met behind closed doors to help lend money to these types of efforts.

Crossroads GPS is the undisclosed group run by Karl Rove. The only known donors are folks like Paul Singer, the “vulture” hedge fund king who benefits enormously from tax strategies like the carried interest loophole. Norquist’s pledge largely benefits billionaires like Singer and Schwarzman, who pay almost nothing in payroll taxes and likely pay a lower rate than their secretaries.

When Norquist promises consequences for the few GOP members willing to break with his pledge, what he’s really saying is that his donor network will retaliate with attack ads and money for primary challenges.

He’s all cackle but no eggs.  So when he rolls out threats of Tea Party 2.0 with more cranky old farts in funny hats on their Rascal scooters demanding the federal government keep its hands off Medicare, then we’ll all be vewy fwightened.


HT to Anne Laurie.