Share

POLITICS

Wal-Mart heir funding Obama big time

By |
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

[NOTE:This piece originally cited the Washington Times' describing Obama donor Sam Walton as "Wal-Mart Chairman." In truth, the Obama donor is Wal-Mart heir Sam Walton. I apologize for not double-checking that fact.]

Can we stop pretending that Barack Obama’s candidacy is some grass-roots uprising?

Obama’s campaign has outspent Romney’s campaign. The Democratic National Committee has outspent the Republican National Committee. While Romney’s SuperPAC (Restore our Future), has outspent Obama’s SuperPAC (Priorities USA), that $40 million Romney SuperPAC edge doesn’t come close to making up for the Obama campaign’s $180 million edge.

There is legally undisclosed spending going on here, and there’s reason to believe Romney benefits from more of it than Obama, but that’s not conclusive, and we don’t know how big Romney’s edge is in that category.

Obama argues that his fundraising success comes from small donors, but that’s not really true. One out of every five Obama dollars comes from the campaign’s biggest bundlers, the Center for Public Integrity reports. Those bundlers include the likes of Pfizer lobbying chief Sally Susman and financier Michael Kempner of the MWW group.

A full 85 percent of Obama’s SuperPAC money comes from his 20 largest donors (compared to 70 percent of the money raised by Romney’s SuperPAC), according to Russ Choma at the Center for Responsive Politics.

My favorite detail, though, is this Washington Times report by data hound Luke Rosiak: Wal-Mart heir Sam Walton has apparently given big to Obama’s SuperPAC.

This is at first surprising for a couple of reasons. First, the Waltons tend to be Republican. Second, the conventional wisdom is that megacorps like Wal-Mart are a Republican thing.

But Sam Walton gave the maximum $30,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008, and $40,000 to the OVF this election.

Policy-wise, there’s plenty of reason for the Waltons to like Barack Obama:

  1. Wal-Mart endorsed the employer mandate in ObamaCare, which gives Wal-Mart an advantage by crushing smaller competitors.
  2. Wal-Mart has profited from Dodd-Frank, which fixes the price Wal-Mart has to pay banks for processing debit cards.
  3. Wal-Mart has lobbied for and profits from higher minimum wage.
  4. Wal-Mart is a top beneficiary of eminent domain takings, a government power protected by the types of judges Obama appoints.
  5. Big Business generally benefits from Big Government.

So, yes, Mitt Romney is cozy with Big Business and big donors. But don’t pretend Obama is any different.

View article comments Leave a comment