Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Atrios got me thinking about something I've been meaning to do.  That is to assemble a half decent list of the known billionaires who fund US politics.  All us dirty hippies have long known that far far more and bigger sacks of cash exist on the right, mostly courtesy of an arm length list of ultra-wealthy donors who have decided to misuse their great luck in life on an ideological mission to remake the world into a safer place for Pharohs and Princes.  According to Forbes, there were 403 American billionaires in 2010.  That isn't the whole set to worry about, I'd say Rev Moon and Rupert Murdoch belong on my list despite not being Americans. 

Here's a start:

Class Traitors Funding Fathers
George Soros Koch Brothers
Peter Lewis Rupert Murdoch
Herbert & Marion Sandler Richard Devos

Richard Mellon Scaife

Reverend Moon

Bob J. Perry

Jerry Perenchio

Robert Rowling

Sheldon Adelson

Philip Anschutz

B. Wayne Hughes

Harold Clark Simmons

Carl Lindner

John Templeton

Alexander Gus Spanos

T. Boone Pickens

Roland Arnall

Pete Peterson

Charles R. Schwab

Pete Coors

Steve Forbes

Sam Zell

August Busch III

Part of the idea here is to create a simple, visual aide that can be pointed to when encountering the usual right wing hysterics about Soros.  Soros recently pointed out himself the absurdity of Beck hyperventilating about him, when really what Beck describes actually fits Murdoch much better. 

I really tried to find some more left wing billionaires, the closest I came were Sanford Robertson and Fred Eychaner, neither of whom appear to actually be billionaires.  Of course there are such things as billionaires who hold left-wing views, but very few of them actively and regularly fund liberal/progressive ideological or Democratic partisan politics in a big way.  I'm sure a few other left(ish) wing billionaires give their $30,000 to the DNC and $2000 to a bunch of candidates, but this is pittance compared to Scaife and the Kochs actively funding the wingnut welfare system that is the vast right wing conspiracy.  Left wing billionaires tend to end up on lists like this, which is well enough as far as it goes, but eradicating malaria or polio isn't going to help much if we can't build a political movement powerful enough to get something done to avert a climate catastrophe.

There's also plenty of rich people who give to the Democratic party as part of their bet-hedging or influence peddling, but do not qualify as people actually interested in promoting any kind of left wing vision for America.  They may find the current incarnation of the Republican party too extreme, particularly on social issues, but they're not going to fund MoveOn or a new ACORN or hire dozens of left wing intellectuals to churn out research papers which overworked journalists are happy to transcribe and meet deadlines, as happens on the right.   

Also, if I start including mere hundred-millionaires then I would also include right wing funders like Fred Eschelman, and no doubt we could have a similarly slanted, albeit longer, list.

But I need help.  What major right wing funders am I missing?  What about any left wing funders?  Anyone not deserve to be on that list?  For now I would rather cast too wide a net and then whittle down based on some reasonable criteria that better distinguishes Scaife or Murdoch from some dot com billionaire that say, gives money to support net neutrality but otherwise is ideologically unremarkable in philanthropic terms.

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