Today, several of the nation’s Patriotic Millionaires slammed Billionaire Ken Griffin, founder of the hedge fund Citadel, for his assertion that the super rich do not have enough influence in American politics.
“Some rich people think that, because they are rich, they somehow have superior knowledge, which entitles them to control our country. And what do these rich people want to do with their superior knowledge and Super Pac power? They, of course, want to reward themselves with lower tax rates, while at the same time reducing Medicare and Social Security benefits for the middle class,” said Paul Egerman, a Patriotic Millionaire and CEO of e-Scription.
Griffin’s comments came during an interview with the Chicago Tribune in response to questions about his $100,000 donation to pro-Romney Super PAC Restore our Future and the hundreds of thousands of dollars he’s provided to other conservative Super PACs. The Billionaire said rich people “actually have an insufficient influence [on politics].” He also believes the rich should be able to donate an unlimited amount of money to Super PACs, in accordance with the Citizens United ruling. Notably, Griffin has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that work to influence elections, including:
- $300,000 to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads (8/1/11)
- $250,000 to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads (10/25/10)
- $100,000 to Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future (12/15/11)
- $30,800 to the Republican National Committee (9/7/11)
- $22,500 RSCC (4/12/11)
- $30,400 RSCC (12/31/09)
“Mr. Griffin . . . needs to be reminded that the US is a democracy, not a plutocracy. One person, one vote! Not one dollar, one vote,” said Patriotic Millionaire and CEO of NuCompass Mobility Services Frank Patitucci.
“Arguing that the rich have insufficient political influence is bizarre given that the Republican party is in the process of nominating for President a multi-millionaire who has received the bulk of his support from other multi-millionaires,” said Patriotic Millionaire, former I. Banker, and Columbia professor Eric Schoenberg.
Patriotic Millionaire Rochelle Kaplan said “due to considerable donations by the super-wealthy to members of Congress, we now have vastly lower rates on dividend income and on income tax rates for the richest Americans that we previously had. This, to me, shows plenty of influence on politics and policy.” And she added, “Just look at Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam keeping Gingrich afloat.”
It’s worth noting that while 91.4% of Griffin’s contributions went to Republican candidates, committees and Super PACs, he did contribute a small amount to Democratic candidates and the Party Committee. Maybe he was hedging his bets?
Patriotic Millionaire and hedge fund manager Jim Chanos offered this tongue in cheek assessment of Griffin’s comments: “Come on… I’ll bet you $10 million he didn’t really mean that…“