Lots Of Billionaires Make Political Donations. Trump Does Not

Today we examine a couple of billionaires, one who is a big donor to Trump and another who surprisingly gives nothing at all.

Meet The Real Estate Billionaire Who Hates Affordable Housing And Loves Trump And The GOP

“GEoffrey Palmer made a multibillion-dollar fortune building luxury residential buildings in southern California. To keep rents high and taxes low, he’s spent nearly $32 million in the past six years opposing ballot initiatives and backing Republicans–particularly Donald Trump,” reports Giacomo Tognini:

Palmer has been called the worst developer in Los Angeles and a real estate “naughty.” He prefers to call himself a “true visionary.” One title not up for debate: billionaire. Since completing his first apartment complex in Santa Clarita in 1985, Palmer, 72, has built up a portfolio of nearly 13,000 apartments throughout southern California, including faux-Italian luxury “fortresses” in downtown LA. Those properties are now worth an estimated $3 billion, boosted by a 17% increase in rents in LA from pre-pandemic levels and a more than 75% rise since 2010.

He’s made those rich by developing properties in historically low-income neighborhoods and installing high-end apartments that price out local residents. He’s done it by unabashedly fighting local government for years. He’s done it ruthlessly, bragging about how he’s in the real estate business to avoid taxes. And, most recently, he’s done it by spending $31.5 million in the past six years on ballot measures and politicians—particularly Donald Trump—that will keep his juggernaut going, no matter who he drives out.

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In Case You Missed It

Hundreds Of Billionaires Donate Big Money In Midterms–But Trump Gives Nothing

“Hundreds of billionaires have pumped money into the 2022 midterm elections. George Soros dumped $129 million into left-leaning super-PACs. Conservatives Dick and Elizabeth Uihlein and Ken Griffin each countered with nearly $55 million. Peter Thiel handpicked a couple of Senate candidates, then seeded them with $15 million apiece,” reports Matt Durot:

Donald Trump, by contrast, appears to have donated nothing. Yes, the former president has routed money to his acolytes–and has gained a kingmaker reputation for doing so. But the cash Trump is sending to other candidates isn’t actually Trump’s money. Instead, it’s money other people have given to Trump-affiliated groups. Trump then takes those funds, passes some of them along to his allies and basks in the attention that such generosity affords him.

Consider the $15 million that recently went to support Republicans running for Senate in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Ohio and Georgia. After the 2020 election, Trump raised more than $100 million from an army of supporters across the country. To do so, he started a group named Save America, which qualifies as a leadership PAC, the sort of entity politicians often use to share cash with other candidates. Trump held most of the money for himself, but a month ago, his group transferred $20 million to another outfit called Make America Great Again, Inc. That entity then bought $2 million to $4 million of ads to support candidates in those five states. Trump, in turn, patted himself on the back.

Should Americans Care That A Saudi Prince Is Now One Of Twitter’s Largest Shareholders?

Trump tracking

Forbes continue to update “Tracking Trump: A Rundown Of All The Lawsuits And Investigations Involving The Former President.”

Donald Trump did not announce plans to run for a second term as president during a rally in Ohio late Monday, despite speculation that his quest to return to the White House could kick off on the eve of Tuesday’s midterms—but he promised a ‘very big announcement’ next week,” reports Joe Walsh.

  • “’Self-incriminating’: Legal experts warn Trump’s admission at rally may be ‘admissible evidence’” (Living room)
  • “While building Truth Social, Trump spoke with rivals about competing partnerships” (CNBC)

Editor’s Picks

  • “Old Money: Campaign Finance and Gerontocracy in the United States” (Adam Bonica of Stanford University and Jacob M. Grumbach of the University of Washington)
  • “US judicial launches online database of judges’ financial disclosures” (Reuters)
  • “Twitter owner Musk backs Republicans on eve of US midterms” (Reuters)
  • “Ronald Lauder: New York’s Billionaire Political Disrupter” (The New York Times)
  • “Fortune talks to Joe Manchin about the chances of bipartisanship and his message to CEOs: ‘Quit writing checks to everybody'” (Fortune)
  • “75 members of Congress have violated a law designed to prevent insider trading and stop conflicts-of-interest” (Insider)
  • “The man behind a mysterious company called Tomfoolery LLC, which made a $75K super PAC contribution to support a Texas Democrat in 2020, has agreed to pay a $25K fine after a Campaign Legal complaint citing Issue One Reform’s ‘Mystery Money’ report. ” (Twitter/Michael Beckel of Issue One)
  • “Kari Lake-Linked Tech Firm Wreaking Campaign Finance Havoc” (The Daily Beast)
  • “Former US Military Pilot Sentenced for Acting as Paid Agent of China and Lying on National Security Background Forms” (Department of Justice)
  • “Is Gmail Silencing Republicans?” (The Atlantic)

In Closing

“Woke up election day

Sky’s gunpowder and shades of gray

Beneath the dirty sun

I whistle my time away

Then just about sundown

You come walking through town

Your boot heels clicking like

The barrel of a pistol spinning round

Don’t worry darling, now baby don’t you fret

We’re living in the future and none of this has happened yet”

—Bruce Springsteen “Livin’ In The Future”

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