Obama raises money from the 1 percent | NevadaAppeal.com

Obama raises money from the 1 percent

Guy W. Farmer

When President Obama was campaigning for the White House in 2008 he condemned “Super PACs” (political action committees) that raise millions of dollars for candidates around the country. These days, however, he’s eagerly scooping up as much money as possible from those same Super PACs.

So where do those million-dollar campaign contributions come from? Well, they come from “the one percent,” those super-rich Hollywood and Wall Street fat cats that our president loves to denounce on the campaign trail. I think this is breathtaking hypocrisy but to Obama and most Washington politicians of both parties, it’s just business as usual.

As you know, “the one percent” is a term invented by those grubby Occupy Wall Street protesters to describe everyone who isn’t camping out in squalor in the nearest public park. Our president and his most fervent supporters have latched on to the occupiers’ class warfare rhetoric in their cynical campaign against the super-rich.

According to an Associated Press investigative report, “President Barack Obama is preaching an economic message aimed at the 99 percent and raising cash among the one percent, walking an election year tightrope complicated by the need for hundreds of millions of dollars at a time of high unemployment.”

According to the AP, 1,000 Obama supporters watched a recent performance by the Grammy-winning Foo Fighters rock band at the Los Angeles home of wealthy TV producer Brad Bell. After the concert 80 people paid $35,800 apiece for a gourmet dinner at Bell’s home that featured French champagne and Beluga caviar. Nice.

And the 99 percent? Let them eat cake, or Ramen noodles. Although I’m targeting President Obama for criticism, his Republican rivals are equally guilty. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is spending millions of his own dollars to smear his opponents while Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is still financing Newt Gingrich’s failing campaign. Meanwhile, Foster Friess, the kooky billionaire who said the best form of birth control is for women to clasp an aspirin tablet between their knees, is the Mr. Moneybags behind Rick Santorum’s surging campaign.

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Obscene amounts of money are corrupting American politics thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial January 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which held that unlimited campaign contributions enjoy First Amendment free speech protections. Big campaign contributions equal free speech. Go figure!

Two Sundays ago I wrote a column about how questionable campaign contributions are polluting politics right here in the Silver State. The FBI is looking into “bundled” contributions made by embattled Reno lobbyist/developer Harvey Whittemore to several Nevada politicians including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his Republican counterpart, Dean Heller. Apparently, Whittemore and his employees funneled more than $127,000 to Sen. Reid on one day in 2007, and another $27,600 to Heller later on. Both senators say they’re donating Whittemore’s contributions to charity. That’s the least they can do.

And we can do our part to clean-up a corrupt system by voting for lawmakers who promise to repeal the Citizens United decision. Let’s do it!

• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.