Friday, October 15, 2010

Politico-The GOP's Mad Million Dollar Men

photo credit: Reuters
(Story reported by Jeanne Cummings for Politico)

For years, Harold Simmons was the kind of donor who dipped into his personal fortune and maxed out his donations to Republican Party candidates and committees.

But in a year in which there’s no such thing as maxing out, Simmons has gone one better: he pulled out his corporate checkbook and cut a pair of $1 million checks.

The checks — one each from two of his companies — went to American Crossroads, the organization founded with the help of former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.

Simmons isn’t the GOP’s only big-ticket corporate underwriter. California businessman Jerry Perenchio also contributed $1 million to American Crossroads, from a living trust. He served as a co-chairman of the finance committee for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

And Carl Lindner, a prodigious GOP fundraiser and one-time Bush Pioneer, also tapped his company’s bank account to contribute $400,000 to American Crossroads.

When the Supreme Court this year decided corporations should be just as protected as individuals when it came to political speech, the justices gave the firms owned by men like Perenchio, Lindner and Simmons a very loud voice.

Democrats had warned that wealthy Republican CEOs would grab their company checkbooks and swamp the political landscape.

Turns out, they were pretty much right.

(Click here to read the full story on the Politico website.)

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