Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
One of the more prominent far-right groups is Club for Growth, which the "lamestream media" frequently mentions in reporting, but never identifies "who are these guys?" The media simply quotes Club for Growth's president and former congressman Chris "Count" Chocola and let it go at that. Chris Chocola – Club for Growth.
Jia Lynn Yang at Ezra Klein's Wonkblog takes a look under the hood. Who’s supporting the GOP hardliners?:
With analysts saying a debt ceiling breach could send financial
markets into a tailspin, people on Wall Street are nervously watching
from afar to see whether Congress will act. But if they’re looking for
someone to blame for this situation, they might start by looking at a
few in their own set.
A small group of financiers is responsible for much of the money
behind Club for Growth, the conservative anti-tax group that has become
extremely successful at encouraging uncompromising voices on Capitol
Hill, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).
* * *
But as our colleague Lori Montgomery wrote last month,
the Club for Growth has emerged as a uniquely influential voice in
pushing the Republican Party to adopt hard-line tactics, financing
primary challenges against Republicans who don't toe its line.
We contacted the group's leading donors to interview them about their
views of the House GOP's tactics in the debt limit impasse so far, but
none responded to requests for comment. A number of them make a living
managing other people’s money, which could lead to some awkward
questions if the stock market plummets as much as 45 percent in the
event of a U.S. debt default, as some are predicting.
Below is a brief introduction to financiers who support the Club for
Growth. Contribution numbers come from OpenSecrets.org; their ages and
biographical information have been pulled from public records.
Peter Thiel, 45, Gave $2 million to Club for Growth Super PAC
An early backer of Facebook and a co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel
is a radical, self-described libertarian who believes that “the great
task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its
forms.” To that end, he and Patri Friedman (grandson of economist
Milton) have formed a nonprofit dedicated to the creation of floating
cities — which they call "seasteads" — where people can “peacefully
test new ideas for government.” (Check out some amazing photos here)
Thiel has a decent financial cushion if the economy craters in the
event of a default. He made more than $1 billion from his Facebook
investment alone. It’s not clear how investors in his hedge fund firm
Clarium Capital Management will fare, though. By the end of 2010, the
firm’s assets had fallen by 90 percent from their peak. The company’s
main hedge fund, according to Bloomberg, “takes contrarian positions
based on major economic trends influenced by government policies,
economic cycles, new technology and commodity fluctuations.” No telling
how they handle trends influenced by extremely risky political gambits.
Virginia James, 69, gave $1.2 million
Almost nothing is known about James, who is listed in public records
as an investor who lives in Lambertville, N.J. Her listed home phone
number rang a few times when we called before it started making
screeching fax transmission sounds. She did not respond to an e-mail
sent to an AOL address also listed in public records.
John Childs, 72, gave $1.1 million
John Childs is the chairman and founder of
the Boston-based private equity firm JW Childs, though Childs appears
to spend most of his time in Florida. The press-shy executive is a
longtime big Republican donor. He gave $1 million to Mitt Romney’s super
PAC Restore Our Future last year. He’s also given to Republican Reps.
Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan in recent years. The firm JW Childs is a
relatively small player in the private equity world and has invested in Brookstone and Sunny Delight.
Robert Arnott, 59, gave $750,000
Arnott, the chairman and chief executive of California-based Research Affiliates, told USA Today last
month that he wasn’t concerned about Republican infighting and that
he’s not a Republican or a Democrat but a libertarian worried about
Obamacare. “Why screw up the economy to force into action something
that’s so sloppily written and that will be such a drain on the
macro-economy?” he said. In other interviews, Arnott has described
“daunting headwinds” heading toward the U.S. economy, what he terms a
“3-D hurricane” made up of debt, deficit and demographics.
Robert Mercer, 67, gave $600,000
Mercer is a co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies, a major
hedge fund known as a quant because the firm relies on algorithms cooked
up by math and physics PhDs to figure out the best trades to make.
Mercer, who is also a member of the National Rifle Association, said in
an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “I’m happy going through my life without saying anything to anybody.” Household staff sued Mercer in July, accusing
him of not paying overtime and cutting their pay when they didn’t
replace shampoo bottles when less than one-third of the bottle remained
and “failing to properly close doors,” according to the complaint. Last
year, Mercer gave $2 million to the Republican super PAC American Crossroads.
Paul Singer, 69, gave $100,000
Singer, one of the world’s most successful hedge fund managers, is
known for his sharply-worded letters to investors that rail against
everything from the Federal Reserve to the government of Argentina. In a
letter to investors last year, Singer referred to the Fed’s bond-buying
stimulus program as “arrant idiocy.” He has also called for increased
oversight of the banks. “A great deal of stupidity has chipped away at
the massive advantages of Western civilization, which could terminally
decline if it remains on the current path,” Singer wrote in 2012. “But these problems can be solved — and swiftly — if the right leaders emerge.”
Maybe these Libertarians should build their Libertarian Paradise "seastead" floating
city out in the middle of an ocean somewhere, and get the hell out!