16 Men, Over $150 Million: The DNA Of A Conservative Megadonor
You haven’t heard of him because he doesn’t actually exist. But if you threw the 16 people who have given more than $2 million conservative super PACs this cycle into a genetic recombinator that would average them according to the amount each gave, you’d end up with a plutocrat straight out of central casting. He would be over 75 years old. He would be a white man. If you pooled his progenitors’ wealth rather than average it, he would be worth something like $51 billion. That fortune comes primarily from the casino and finance industries (but also draws on coal company holdings, real estate empires, entertainment promotion, and even a skin cream sales multi-level marketing scheme). If he were a country, he’d be about the 71st largest economy in the world, well ahead of places like Uruguay, Kenya, and Lithuania.
He’s fond of saying that President Obama will “eliminate free enterprise” in favor of a “socialist-style economy.” But despite that avowed free-market ideology, he’s used his wealth to tilt the playing field in his favor on everything from nuclear waste deals to custom-built regulatory shams in Texas, to complex business dealings in Macau. And his attitude toward his own workforce is far less generous than his philanthropic giving might suggest: His companies brag of being “entirely union-free” (though they’re quieter about their thousands of safety violations), one group of employees resorted to a hunger strike for pay equity with their English-speaking colleagues, and his primary revenue stream – the casino empire – is under investigation by the feds and mired in a nasty legal battle with his former business partner.
Here’s a rundown of the 16 real men who’ve combined to give over $150 million – just that we know about, and not counting reported donations to anonymously funded groups – to conservative super PACs during this cycle.Read more after the jump.