Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

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Via the Sunlight Foundation, I see there's a nice set of documents that Lieberman has filed with the FEC disclosing last minute massive donors.  I've started going through them to see what's there.  I'm struck every time I go through the FEC records how much obvious and legal corruption there is in our system; there it is in the FEC database, laid out, the legal financial connections used to pay for the subversion of democracy.  

Help me go through these documents.  There's not really one set way to do this.  I would go through the names and companies, and google them.  Find out who they are.  

For instance, aside from the standard business PAC money, It seems that there's a lot of New York City billionaire money flowing in last minute to Joe.  I think, though I'm not sure, that these are the 'Bloomberg Democrats' who keep floating the idea of Bloomberg as an appealing third party candidate in 2008.

There's billionaire Ronald Perelman, for instance.

Here are a whole lot of Ratner's.  This is, by the way, a common trick, to get your kids and cousins to max out.  It's a subtle and legal way around campaign contribution limits.  Bruce Ratner owns the NJ Nets and is building the new Nets Arena in Brooklyn (and facing intense local opposition from the community).  His brother is an investment banker, Steven Ratner, and Steven's wife is Maureen White, the former finance chair of the DNC.  The family is originally from Cleveland, and Steven was an original partner with Gore in Current TV. (update: There's some dispute about whether they are related, but they do know each other. Steven Rattner hasn't donated to Lieberman.).

More Ratner's.

I remember when I was a student that maxed out to neoliberal politicians.  College!

And here is the Falic family of the company 'Duty Free America', which sells goods in airports with no tariffs.

Finally, here's Herb Kohl, Senator from Wisconsin, and well-known Hill coward.

Ok, except for Kohl, this looks like a network of New York City billionaires who comprise the 'Bloomberg Democrat' type.  These are the people who see themselves as above the fray, and think there's a third party realignment that's possible among all the pro-free trade and pro-choice Americans who endow museums.

Update: I'm told that Richardson didn't donate.

Tags: Connecticut, CT-Sen, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont (all tags)



Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

But what good does it do Joe at the very end?  Pre-funding the independent run?

by Bob H 2006-08-07 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

More likely it is election day money.  GOTV, paid bodies, robo calls, etc are not cheap.  Maybe not TV expensive but they cost money.

He can hit all these people up again for his Independent bid.

by John Mills 2006-08-07 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

STEVE RATTNER ( NOTE THE TWO T'S) AND MAUREEN WHITE ARE NOT RELATED TO THE OTHER RATNERS.  They very likely know each other, but they are not related.

by debcoop 2006-08-07 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

I'm going back and seeing if I can verify this.  Thanks, Deb.

by Matt Stoller 2006-08-07 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations


I know them.  They are not relatives.

The Ratners do come from Cleveland. Thay are related to Bruce Ratner, the New York developer, but I don't know how close these family members are to Bruce.  The family biz has been in construction and real estate in cleveland for some time.  

If you look up Bruce Ratner, he hasn't given to Federal candidates in some time.  He was a big Clinton donor in 92 and 96.  He then backed Guiliani and Bloomberg.  I rarely, if ever, have seen Bruce's name on a Democratic fundraising invitation since 1996.  

by debcoop 2006-08-07 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

Actually I do know that Steve Rattner and Maureen do know Bruce Ratner. Maureen probably knows nearly the entire universe of major Democratic donors since she has be finance chair of the DNC from 2000 until just a couple of months ago.

by debcoop 2006-08-07 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

I was a Bloomberg Democrat, but I couldn't imagine voting for Lieberman in a million years.

Bloomberg strikes me as easily more liberal than Lieberman - and certainly on the issues that matter most.

by Steve M 2006-08-07 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

Good work, Matt.  When this thing is over, win or lose, I hope some intrepid blogger (and maybe even the MSM) will write a long article highlighting and detailing the extent to which this election has been a fight between rank and file Democrats vs. the Entrenched Interests.  It couldn't be more clear.

The extent to which the Big Guys are rallying behind Lieberman confirms just how afraid they are of real democracy in this country.

by global yokel 2006-08-07 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

The info is out there. It's been out there, for years, from numerous people. Jim Hightower discussed the various FEC-skirting shell games in depth in one of his books (If the Gods Had Meant for Us to Vote...). And still, a willful deafness and blindness about this subversion of the democratic process.

I think part of the reason is that people are so cynical now that they think this is NORMAL.

It's getting people to realize it isn't that's the trick now.

What makes me mad is that it wasn't so long ago when stunts like these were called what they are: Bribes.

by Aquaria 2006-08-07 11:48AM | 0 recs

"These are the people who see themselves as above the fray, and think there's a third party realignment that's possible among all the pro-free trade and pro-choice Americans who endow museums."

One of the funniest things I've read in a long time.  Keep up the good work Matt.

by HSTruman 2006-08-07 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

So what's your point, Stoller, it's ok for an inherited wealth Democrat to buy an office but not ok for a Democrat born into a middle class family to raise money from the successful?  Your whole idiotic rant about "Bloomberg Democrats" contrasts nicely with that Lamont Library sign on the post below.  If you're looking for a Good Government Paul Wellstone/Russ Feingold type in this race, you're obviously in the wrong state.

by Dan Conley 2006-08-07 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

The problem with Bloomberg Dems isn't that they have money, it's that they don't support progressive economic principles.  And those principles, incidentally, also happen to be good for the economy at large.  The fact that Lieberman draws his support from people who largely reject the economic principles of the Democratic party is rather telling - NOT the size of any of those donors checkbooks.

by HSTruman 2006-08-07 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

"Bloomberg Dems" is catchy but it isn't a very accurate description of economically laissez faire Dems because Bloomberg is actually pretty progressive economically.  He raised taxes to avoid huge budget cuts in his first year as Mayor. He is the first Mayor in a quarter century to develop an affordable housing plan and fund it.  He also promoted his Commissioner of Homeless Services to Deputy Mayor.  He has been much friendlier to people on public assistance than Giuliani.  He has also successfully toned down the high handed tactics of the NYPD under Rudy.  He has made school reform a priority and while I question some of his decisions I give him tons of credit for addressing a huge problem most other pols gave lip service to. Virtually all of his top aides are veterans of the staffs of Mario Cuomo, Pat Moynihan or Ed Koch.  

I have never voted for Bloomberg (I didn't vote for that hack Ferrer either) and have problems with his coziness with some of the cities elite.  He certainly should have been harder on the CEO of Con Ed.  I hated his switching parties so he could become Mayor.  However, the guy has largely governed the city as a pragmatic moderate to liberal Dem which is what he was before switching parties.

by John Mills 2006-08-07 02:01PM | 0 recs
Fair Enough

Good critique about Bloomberg, who admittedly I don't know a ton about since I don't really follow NYC politics closely.  I think the larger point about Democrats who have abandoned economic populism still stands, however, regardless of what name they're given.  

by HSTruman 2006-08-07 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Fair Enough

I am not a Bloomberg fan but as a NYC resident I have begrudging respect for the job he has done as Mayor.  He is not a people person and doesn't mingle much with the masses but he doesn't govern like a Repub either.  The Repubs in this town loved Rudy curse Bloomberg under their breath all the time.

I refused to vote for the guy for the sole reason that he brought the Repub convention to NYC in 2004.  My wife berated me right up to election day about my refusal to support Bloomberg for that reason but I walked into the voting booth and pulled the lever for some 3rd party candidate I can't even remember.  I couldn't vote for Ferrer because I had direct experience with him about a decade ago and knew he'd be a disaster.

by John Mills 2006-08-07 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Fair Enough

Agreed.  Actually Lieberman Dems fits a lot better than Bloomberg Dems even if Bloomberg is rich as hell.

by John Mills 2006-08-07 02:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

Couldn't agree with you more... Of course who are we, Chicago-land residents, commenting about a guy that lives in a 30 million dollar house on the E. Coast.

by Legionnaire 2006-08-07 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

And you really think that Ned "Banker's Row" Lamont is going to be a fighter for the common man?  Come on guys ... I know Lieberman isn't great, but Lamont has never proven to be on the side of progressives in any way other than opposing the Iraq War, which incidentally is awfully easy to do when you've never had to cast a meaningful vote on the issue.  Paul Wellstone he's not.

by Dan Conley 2006-08-07 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

The folks I know on Bankers' Row don't jump at the opportunity to teach in urban schools.

We'll see what we get from Lamont but I'm far from the only one who's been impressed by his personal qualities.  Your mileage may vary.

by Steve M 2006-08-07 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

Care to share a SINGLE piece of evidence to support your accusations against Lamont?  Here are some quotes from Lamont's web site that sure make it seem like he's an economic populist to me:

"I support strictly-enforced fair trade policies which level the playing field, requiring that American products have the same access to Chinese markets that Chinese products have to American markets. I would support only reciprocal trade agreements which include strong labor and environmental standards."

"I believe employers should be required to pay their fair share for insurance for all full-time employees, and that all uninsured children must be covered. The federal government must provide subsidies to those who can not afford health care and help small employers buy into a pool to reduce costs and protect against catastrophic expenses."

Contrast those statements with Lieberman's past willingness to allow some version of SS privatization, support for vouchers that would destroy public schools, and support for capital gains cuts that only shift the tax burden onto the middle class.  Hmmm, sounds to me like this is a pretty easy choice even WITHOUT factoring in Iraq.  

by HSTruman 2006-08-07 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations
Two things that are being discussed in Congress now that come to mind that make me wonder how he will vote beacuse of personal interests. Maybe you can find out how he would vote on them?
1) Net-neutrality (owning Lamont Digital systems) and 2) estate tax (since he received somewhere from 90-300 million from his great-granfather, former J.P. Morgan & Co. Chairman Thomas W. Lamont).
by Legionnaire 2006-08-07 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

I would be absolutely SHOCKED if Lamont ever voted in favor of Estate Tax repeal.  It strikes me that people that inherit/make large sums of money and then embrace progressive policy positions don't then abandon them b/c of self interest.

by HSTruman 2006-08-07 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

Empirical evidence of this?

by Legionnaire 2006-08-07 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

He's both for net neutrality and for the estate tax.

That's not his website.

by Matt Stoller 2006-08-07 03:03PM | 0 recs
scumbag Ratner

gee - looks like the same people who gave to Marty 'I've never met a developer I didn't like' Markowitz (Brooklyn Boro Prez - Clown/Dem)

by brooklyngreenie 2006-08-07 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations

I must have looked at the wrong list.  It had a late July filing date and covered July donations.  My list was typed.  Among the big names were politicos Diane Feinstein, Elliot Spitzer, "Friends of Senator Carl Levin" (a PAC), Bingamon Re-election Campaign, and former Republican Senator Warren Rudman.  The other names include Hollywood movie producer Jerry Weintraub (Ocean's Twelve, Ocean's Eleven, The Karate Kid movies, Diner, and Oh, God).

by David Kowalski 2006-08-07 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Lieberman's Last Minute Donations (sort of)

I had a brainstorm, and this is about Bruce Ratner, so move the post if you like, but it does have to do with Ratner's wanton palm-greasing. Chuck Schumer is leading the coordinated plan to take back Congress from the Republicans. Chuck Schumer digs Ratner's development proposal for Brooklyn, despite the fact that it will ruin Schumer's own neighborhood. Could it be that Ratner has promised to liberally fund democrats in contests where they can wrest seats from Republicans? Has anyone checked into this?

by kg 2006-08-10 10:00AM | 0 recs
Matt - check your email

You should have received an email from PJ Evans containing a spreadsheet with a list of the last donations to Lieberman's campaign prior to the primary.  There's more than one family making donations a la the Ratners.

And there's amounts that defy my understanding of BCRA even with the millionaire amendment in play.

I'd like to know if the "students" listed as donors are minors or adults, donations from minors being a no-no.

by RayneToday 2006-08-21 12:47PM | 0 recs


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