American Consequences - October 2017

oligarch Leonard Blavatnik. Google’s political action committee (PAC) and its CEO Eric Schmidt each paid $10,000 to be players. According to OpenSecrets, only one in five of Harris’ contributors donated less than $200. Most was contributed by large donors who could afford to pay the limit of $5,400 to the official campaign, plus multiples of that into the “unrelated” Victory Fund. Special interests seeking influence with politicians typically circumvent donation limits by bundling contributions. Lawyers for Harris led the pack, collectively donating $2.2 million. Employees of Internet giant Time Warner, a Venable client, gave Harris the most money, $128,000. Venable itself ranked second with more than $105,000 in employee donations, followed closely by ultra-conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. Alphabet ranked fifth, investing $86,000 in the senator-to-be. The flood of billionaires’ money flowed out as fast as the checks were cashed. Harris’ lifestyle on the campaign trail was nothing less than epicurean – no stays at Motel 6 for Kamala. In 2015, the campaign reportedly spent $18,000 for her overnights at the St. Regis in Washington, D.C., the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the Four Seasons in Boston, and the opulent W Hotel in Los Angeles. Which is weird since she was supposedly campaigning in California. Harris reportedly flew first class and was chauffeured through the inner cities in limousines. And she kept a stable of expensive lawyers happy. In 2016, the Harris campaign paid $85,000 to the national Democratic Party’s go-to law firm,

international DLA Piper law firm to represent digital media and Internet technology clients. Potential conflicts of interest? As if reading my mind, Kamala reassured me in a campaign e-mail, “We’re not powered by special interests or corporations,” and asked me for $26. Our relationship ended abruptly when I clicked on “Questions for Kamala” and my foreign-policy query could not be delivered unless I ponied up as much as $2,700. Spam filter: activated. No doubt, some donors got

Could it be because her campaign- funding machine is anchored in Silicon Valley?

face time with the actual Kamala. Public records show that multibillionaire San Francisco socialite Gordon Getty and his family members each maxed out with $5,400 contributions to her campaign committee. But the major action was

happening over at Harris’ “independent, non-controlled” Victory Fund, into which socialites, Internet barons, and Hollywooders dumped cash... The Swigs (real estate), the Schwabs (banking), the Shorensteins (real estate), and the Bowes (Hula-Hoop) collectively ponied up $100,000. Facebook’s first president Sean Parker and his wife plunked down $40,000. Lobbyist Darius Anderson and his spouse, $20,000; likewise, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife donated. Actor Sean Penn dropped $10,000, as did Russian

60 | October 2017

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