Author: OpenSecrets Blog

250 Donors Shelled Out $100k Or More For Trump’s Inauguration, Providing 91 Percent Of Funds

THE HUFFINGTON POST by Ashley Balcerzak (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Rex Features via AP Images) Several balls were among the events paid for by Trump’s Inaugural Committee. Here, the freshly minted president sings along to “My Way” while dancing with his wife Melania. What does it take to stage a welcome-to-the-neighborhood blowout? President Trump raised $107 million for his inaugural festivities, shattering previous records. The former titleholder, Barack Obama, raised half that, $53.2 million, in 2009 — though Obama imposed far stricter limits on amounts and sources of donations. At least 47 people or organizations gave $1 million or more to the Trump...

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Rick Perry, with multiple ties to CEO of controversial pipeline project, tapped for Energy Dept.

  Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, at Trump Tower this week, is on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, and its CEO was the biggest funder of his 2016 presidential bid. (Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones / Pool via CNP /MediaPunch/IPX) BY: ASHLEY BALCERZAK The Dakota Access Pipeline protesters just got a new reason to keep their Standing Rock encampment intact: former Texas governor and two-time presidential candidate Rick Perry, tapped today by President-elect Donald Trump to head his Energy Department. Never mind that Perry — who now becomes the second of Trump’s competitors named to his Cabinet (Ben Carson is slotted for Housing and Urban Development) — previously wanted to scrap the agency altogether. Now the department will be helmed by a man whose biggest fan — as measured by donations supporting Perry’s presidential bids — is Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial pipeline. Warren gave super PACs supporting Perry’s presidential bid $6 million last year, though he got nearly $4 million of it back after Perry dropped out. And beyond that, Perry is on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners — a position he would have to relinquish if he’s to become secretary. Earlier this month, the Army Corps of Engineers, in response to the protests in North Dakota, said it would explore alternate routes for the pipeline segment at issue, but the...

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Clinton and Wall Street: What’s the deal, really?

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders today in Portsmouth, N.H., where Sanders endorsed her. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) In May, Wall Streeters donated more than any other industry to Hillary Clinton‘s campaign and pro-Clinton super PACs – nearly $4.45 million out of her total $314 million raised. Retired people and the printing & publishing industry took the Nos. 2 and 3 spots. This news tracks with one of the major critiques of Clinton: that she’s been bought and paid for by Wall Street bankers. Clinton’s election, this storyline goes, could result in greater access for financial powerbrokers and a field day for the industry — and what’s good for Wall Street often is not good for Main Street. The pattern is a repetition of what we’ve seen throughout Clinton’s campaign: The securities & investment industry (our term for what most think of as Wall Street), leads in overall donations to the Clinton effort, according to our numbers. Citing that same data, CNBC said recently that Clinton has had a “love affair” with Wall Street. Her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), has accused Hillary Clinton of being “funded by Wall Street.” One problem with the narrative, though: It ignores the fact that most of these contributions actually have come from a tiny group of ultra-wealthy, liberal donors who work in finance. Wall Street more broadly doesn’t have any outsized affection for Clinton, but a...

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The Kochs versus their machine

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is the only 2016 candidate so far to benefit from both personal contributions by the Kochs and outlays by one of its outside spending groups. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) To anyone who follows politics, the Koch brothers are best known for spearheading a sprawling network of groups that invest millions in conservative, libertarian-leaning candidates and causes. It’s assumed that Charles and David Koch and their wives have put a great deal of money into these organizations — but it’s hard to know for sure, since most of them operate under sections of the tax code that don’t require them to disclose their donors. What we’re left with, then, is the tip of what’s believed to be a very large iceberg. But it’s all we have, so let’s take a look. According to FEC filings, the Koch brothers have personally donated more than $4 million to campaigns and outside groups during the 2016 cycle so far. That’s a lot of scratch, though of course not by the standards of what the billionaire industrialists could give. Surprisingly little of it has gone to candidates. The bulk — $3 million, in one lump sum — was given by Charles Koch at the end of May to Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super PAC in the brothers’ tangled election financing machine and an offshoot of the network’s hub, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce....

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Failed Carson campaign spent heavily in April and May, routed funds to former staffers

by Alec Goodwin Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump in Palm Beach on March 11, one week after Carson dropped his presidential bid. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) Former presidential candidate Ben Carson‘s campaign committee, Carson America, spent nearly $1 million in the months of April and May, including payments to a number of former Carson staffers for “political strategy” consulting. Carson suspended his campaign on March 4 and has since stumped for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, whom he endorsed on March 11. During April and May, Carson America spent $907,498, of which $272,831 went to political strategy consultants and their travel; that includes $69,080 in May alone. The campaign laid out an additional $123,627 for other forms of consulting — legal, financial, compliance, and digital — for a grand total of $396,458 spent on consulting over the two months. Former Carson America staffers fared well, chalking up lots of consulting fees. The big bucks went to those in Carson’s inner circle. Bob Dees, the neurosurgeon’s former campaign chairman, took home $42,582. Gary Michael Brown, his former political director, was paid $30,371. Through April and May, former operations director Renee Burchard was paid $18,700. Ed Brookover, senior strategist turned campaign manager, received $26,359.78, all of it in April — though he was also being paid by the Trump campaign, to which he became a senior adviser on March 11, the same day...

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