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7 Plutocrats That Bankrolled the GOP Primary -- and What They Want in Return

Our elections have replaced horse racing as the sport of the nation's most obscenely wealthy.

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The result is a suicidal diversion of our country's political process from addressing the urgent needs of the majority (and of the country itself). Instead, the presidential and congressional debate has wandered down the rabbit hole into the Mad Hatter's tea party, where the number one political priority is to protect and extend the wealth and power of the privileged class! There's an old-time word for this:  plutocracy. Throughout our nation's history, that word has been an expletive, an anti-democratic abomination. Astonishingly, however, it's back with a vengeance. We see in Congress, in numerous state governments, in the media establishment, in corporate-funded academia, and now in the race for president an all-out push to ennoble rank plutocrats as "job creators," to emasculate the people's authority to control the narcissism of the rich, and to make American citizens swallow the lie that corporations are "people" with a constitutional right to purchase our democracy.

SuperPACs are only Wave One of the financial tsunami sweeping over America's politics this year. Wave Two, also authorized by  Citizens United , will be even larger, for it allows Fortune 500 giants to siphon as much money as they want directly out of their corporate vaults and pour it into campaigns--while keeping the sources of the money secret from voters. These totally secret, corporate political funds are laundered through outfits organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code as ( WARNING: The following fact is so stupefying that it can cause temporary insanity in sensible people) non-profit "social welfare organizations" engaged in charitable work! Never mind that the welfare of the plutocracy is the cause being served by this perverse philanthropy.

At present, the largest of these is  Crossroads GPS, created by the noted political altruist and GOP hatchet man Karl Rove. It alone expects to raise $240 million from undisclosed corporate interests and spend nearly all of it on venomous attack ads to defeat Barack Obama this fall. You'd need more than a GPS to find all the sources of Crossroads' cash, but it's known that nearly 90 percent of the $77 million it raised in the last six months of 2011 came from a couple of dozen donors chipping in from $1 million to $10 million each.

Name that plutocrat!

If they're trying to purchase our elections, shouldn't we at least know who they are? At your service! In this issue of the  Lowdown, we'll focus on the check writers fueling the SuperPACs, giving you a snapshot of the biggest of these heavy hitters, including indi-cations of what they want for their generosity. Let's start with the "Super-Duper Seven." Of the $94 million amassed by SuperPACs backing the major GOP wannabes (Romney, Santorum, Paul, Gingrich, and Perry), nearly half came from these seven men:

Sheldon Adelson, $21.5 million. "I'm against very wealthy people attempting to influence elections," Adelson asserted in Forbes magazine in February, "But as long as it's doable, I'm going to do it." Nice code of ethics there: It's wrong, but count me in. One of the 10 richest billionaires in our country, this 78-year-old longtime funder of Republicans and the ultra-right literally built his fortune on gaming the system. He now reigns over the Las Vegas Sands Corporation that runs luxury casinos in the US and China's special administrative region, Macau.

By the grace of  Citizens United , America has Adelson to thank for Newt Gingrich's preposterous presidential run this year, for he single-handedly kept the insufferable blowhard in the race by dumping a stunning $21.5 million into Gingrich's Winning Our Future SuperPAC. He said he was willing to put down $100 million on the Newt to win the nomination, but alas, the candidate was so pompous and unpleasant that few people besides Sheldon found him appealing.

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