Billionaires behaving badly: the anti-government hostile takeover of America

The Washington Post today has several articles about conservative billionaires behaving badly, paying for an anti-government hostile takeover of America for the serfdom of a corporatocracy ruled by them.

The first is An amazing chart on how the Koch brothers are dominating the Senate ad race:

The GOP outside group Americans for Prosperity, backed by the Koch brothers, David and Charles, has been far outspending the top Democratic super PACs in nearly all of the Senate races the GOP is targeting this year.

The difference in seven of the nine races (not counting the now-concluded Massachusetts special election) is at least two-to-one, and the Democratic super PACs have had virtually no air presence in five of the nine states.

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The “Kochtopus” is also reaching down into local races. Koch brothers’ money is making its way to hyperlocal races:

The Koch brothers seem to have taken the famous adage to heart: if all politics is local, that’s where their money will go.

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But the group’s advocacy in Wisconsin is just the latest example of how its state chapters are increasingly focused on state and local issues. AFP has more than 200 full-time paid staffers in offices in at least 32 states, The New York Times reported last week.

“The idea is to embed staff members in a community, giving conservative advocacy a permanent local voice through field workers who live in the neighborhood year-round and appreciate the nuances of the local issues,” the paper reported.

AFP has spent tens of millions on Senate races so far this year and last week released what appears to be its first 2014 TV spot affecting a governor’s race, National Journal reported. It’s been involved in a mayoral race in Iowa and property tax fights in Kansas, Ohio and Texas and, in Arkansas, the group succeeded in turning the state legislature red for the first time since post-Civil War Reconstruction. That chapter has so far spent $1.4 million in ad buys, our colleague Jaime Fuller reported last week[.]

And they may be using your money to do it. How you support the Koch Brothers (even if you don’t know it) (video link).

The Koch brothers are not the only conservative billionaires who hope to pull off an anti-government hostile takeover of America. Meet the DeVos family, cofounders of Amway. Meet the family that’s dropped $45 million on Michigan campaigns since 2000:

Dick DeVos ran unsuccessfully for governor in Michigan in 2006, but the family has long been involved in Michigan politics in lower-profile ways.

Since 2000, members of the DeVos family have contributed $45.6 million to state campaigns, according to a report authored by Zach Holden, a researcher at the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a Helena, Mont.-based nonprofit dedicated to shining a light on state campaign spending. Most of that total, $35.4 million, was spent by Dick DeVos and his wife, Betsy, on his failed gubernatorial campaign against former Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Dick’s father co-founded Amway, the direct sales corporation.

The rest was largely spent on state campaigns, but as with other wealthy financiers, the family seems to have found a new focus: state legislative campaign committees. From 2000 through late December, family members gave nearly $465,000 to house and senate Republican campaign committees. But after a new law doubled contribution limits on Dec. 27, the family shattered that combined record dropping $700,000 in the last two days of 2013. The move allowed them to max out their contributions before the clock reset on the 1st of the year.

The family has historically been more focused on state political parties, having contributed nearly $5 million to the state Republican party, according to the Institute. DeVos family members have also contributed more than $2.3 million to ballot measures between 2000 and 2012, with $1.75 million going into a successful battle against a 2012 measure to add collective bargaining rights to the state Constitution.

Screenshot from 2014-03-25 12:48:16 And then there is the corrupt casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who pissed away over $90 million in 2012. Billionaire megadonor ready to be GOP kingmaker in 2016:

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who along with his wife plowed more than $92 million into efforts to help mostly losing candidates in the 2012 elections, is undertaking a new strategy for 2016 — to tap his fortune on behalf of a more mainstream Republican with a clear shot to win the White House, according to people familiar with his thinking.

In 2012, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson spent so much of their money on long-shot candidate Newt Gingrich that they helped extend an ugly intraparty fight that left the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, severely bruised by the time he faced President Obama in the general election.

This time, the Adelsons are plotting their investments based not on personal loyalty, but on a much more strategic aim: to help select a Republican nominee they believe will have broad appeal to an increasingly diverse national electorate.

The change in attitude comes amid early jockeying by a lengthy list of aspiring Republican presidential contenders to win the affections of the billionaire, who is in the beginning stages of assessing the field.

“The bar for support is going to be much higher,” said Andy Abboud, Adelson’s top political adviser and an executive at the Adelson-run Las Vegas Sands Corp. He added, “There’s going to be a lot more scrutiny.”

This strategy would favor more established 2016 hopefuls such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. All four will descend this week on Adelson’s luxury hotel in Las Vegas, the Venetian, for an important step in what some are calling the “Sheldon Primary.”

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[S]ome of the most important events will occur between the poker tournament, Scotch tasting and strategy workshops. That’s when Adelson is scheduled to hold casual one-on-one chats — over coffee, at dinner or in his private office — with the prospective candidates.

Victor Chaltiel, a GOP donor and an Adelson friend who sits on the board of Las Vegas Sands, said at this early stage in the 2016 sweepstakes, Adelson is “neutral” and has his eye on a number of potential candidates, including Bush and Christie.

“He doesn’t want a crazy extremist to be the nominee,” Chaltiel said. “He wants someone who has the chance to win the election, who is reasonable in his positions, who has convictions but is not totally crazy.”

No,  Adelson wants a candidate who is bought and paid for and is at his every beck and call to do as he is told when Sheldon calls.

“Certainly the ‘Sheldon Primary’ is an important primary for any Republican running for president,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush who serves with Adelson on the RJC’s board. “It goes without saying that anybody running for the Republican nomination would want to have Sheldon at his side.”

Most of the prospective candidates have made a point of reaching out to Adelson with phone calls and personal visits when they come through town. The conversations are not overt pitches for financial backing yet, but rather solicitations of Adelson’s thoughts on the economy and Israel as well as strategy for the 2014 midterm elections, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

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Adelson will not be the only major bundler for prospective candidates to visit with in Las Vegas. The RJC board also includes private-equity executive Lewis Eisenberg; hedge fund founder Paul Singer; Washington insider and lobbyist Wayne Berman; former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman; and former ambassadors Sam Fox and Mel Sembler.

Adelson is lending his weight to a bid by Las Vegas to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.  Oh please make it The Sands in Las Vegas, I’m begging you guys!

The GOP is the party of, by and for billionaires who want to impose the serfdom of a corporatocracy in which they rule the country — and the world. This is where the concentration of great wealth in the hands of sociopaths leads. The survival of our democratic Republic is at stake.

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