Well, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has thoughtfully given them a fair shot at a fair share, and compiled a list of all kinds of extremely rich people and the amounts they've contributed to the SuperPacs. You'll be familiar with some of the names (for example, one of the Walton heirs made the cut), but most of them (to me at least) were complete unknowns. I am woefully behind in my Forbes 400 reading. So, I did some quick Googling and discovered that the vast majority on Bernie's List are (you guessed it) vulture capitalists and hedge fund managers. The quintessential Barbarians at the Gates, who make Mitt Romney, a mere quarter-billionaire, look like a loser. But they all seem to be Romney donors, or at least Republican/libertarian sugar daddies. If there's an Obama outlier lingering in the mix, I haven't found him yet. Help do the research, and let us know. Bernie left hotel heiress Penny Pritzker off the list, because there is no evidence yet that she's given any of her billions to Obama's SuperPac. She apparently was miffed about not getting a cabinet appointment last time. But since she was spotted catching a ride on Air Force One this week, she may have come back to the fold after all. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, to whet your appetites, here are a couple of profiles of the Overlords who did make the A-List:
Harold Simmons, net worth $9 billion, has donated $15.2 million to SuperPacs this year. He started out working for the federal government as a bank examiner, but soon smartened up and realized he could buy his own banks with borrowed money he essentially would never have to pay back. His current proclivities include chemicals, heavy metals and waste management. Before the Supreme Court obliged with its Citizens United ruling, Simmons got into trouble for exceeding the limit on campaign contributions. He was also charged with mail and wire fraud, but beat the rap. He got into trouble over a lead pollution case, too. He has contributed to both Rick Perry's campaign war chest and to Oprah Winfrey's charities. This behavior is typical of Bernie's Billionaires -- hedge fund managers that they are, they always hedge their bets and spread out a miniscule puddle of their ill-gotten gains to worthy causes. This is known as "greed-washing." David Koch, for example, named part of Lincoln Center after himself because he loves ballet as much as balkanization (the division of our natural resources into private little Kochdoms.)
Samuel Zell: this is the guy journalists love to hate, given his hostile takeover of newspapers (LA Times and Chicago Tribune). He's been implicated in the Rod Blagojevich corruption scandal, supposedly pressured by the former governor to fire Chicago Tribune staffers critical of him, in exchange for tax breaks related to Zell's purchase of Wrigley Field. But that investigation went nowhere, through lack of
All in all, Bernie's Billionaires have a combined net worth exceeding the total wealth of the bottom 43% of all Americans combined. And the millions, maybe soon to be billions of their SuperPac contributions are only what has been reported. When it comes to donating to the shady "non-profit" grassroots organizations fronting even more political war chests, there is no disclosure required. Congress saw to that just the other week, when the Disclose Act was defeated.