Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"The Money Behind Ted Cruz"

The above is the title of a Bloomberg Business Week article this week(January 25 - 31 issue) that is subtitled "Robert Mercer is one of the wealthiest, most secretive, influential, and reactionary Republicans in the country."  Mercer is the leading quant at Renaissance Technologies, an off the charts, so to speak, successful investment management firm based on Long Island.  His work there has made him billions.

The article is fascinating, as Mercer uses his wealth to support quirky ideas, fringe right wing conservative movements, climate change deniers groups, and strange conspiracy theorists that are falling off the edge of the far right.  He now supports Ted Cruz, so far $11 million of support.  Along with two other billionaires, Mercer is spearheading the support with his two counterparts providing the great majority of the money for Cruz, leading to a total of $38 million in a PAC known as Keep the Promise.  The other two, to quote BBW are "Toby Neugebauer, a founder of a Houston investment firm who now lives in Puerto Rico, and Farris Wilks, a mason, pastor, and father of 11 from rural Texas who became a billionaire a few years ago in the fracking business." This group and several other major donors met with Cruz in Palm Beach in February 2014 to sound him out and plan this financing.

One could guess that this is far from what the supporters of the Citizens United ruling would lead to, or maybe it was.  Citizen United, seriously flawed as it is, was advanced with the thought that major corporations and known supporters of and participants in the U.S. economy should be allowed to wield more influence in the political arena. That has not happened for the most part.  What is described here about the Cruz support has, and it is far more alarming than having GE, Goldman Sachs, Apple, Walmart, or other mainstream corporations give more to candidates.

As readers may have noted, Bloomberg Business Week has become required reading here with each weekly issue looked forward to almost as much as The New Yorker.  That's an exaggeration, but BBW is read thoroughly each week.  The article discussed here is worth reading as we get into the teeth of the primary season in presidential politics.  The financial underpinnings of Cruz's campaign are not remotely broad based or mainstream.

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