Malevolent Billionaire Announces Voter Suppression Scheme

Malevolent Billionaire Announces Voter Suppression Scheme

A billionaire Democrat donor announces a scheme for suppressing Republican votes. Does anyone care?

San Francisco offshore hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer is the biggest donor in American politics by a country mile. As of the most recent round of disclosures, he had contributed $42,725,000 to elect Democrats, which is more than the top 31 Republican donors—combined. So of course when the Arlington-based liberal blog Politico obtained a Steyer strategy memo last month, they headlined their story “Memo: Value in anti-Koch attacks” and completely ignored the shocking voter suppression strategy advocated by Steyer’s top political hand, Chris Lehane.

Here’s the key part from page eight of the Steyer memo:

memo1He goes on to identify specific smears and attacks designed to demoralize Republicans and suppress their turnout in those “Republican Haircut Programs.”

Remarkably, the smears mostly consist of falsely accusing Republicans of being beholden to billionaire donors—even though this strategy would be executed by the biggest donor in American politics, on behalf of candidates who actually did corruptly promise Steyer they would help kill the Keystone XL pipeline and tens of thousands of jobs in exchange for his millions.

The hypocrisy gets worse. For instance, regarding Iowa, the Steyer memo says:

memo2Of course, that vicious smear is so false that even the liberals at Politifact gave it a full false. But it is also being fully financed by hypocrite Steyer—who made his entire fortune running offshore hedge funds in the Cayman Islands, Singapore, and Mauritius that he advertised to investors as a tax avoidance scheme. And Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley, Joni Ernst’s opposition, actually reversed his previous support for Keystone to get the Steyer money flowing, so he really is beholden to an out-of-state billionaire based on a corrupt deal.

All of this while Democrats and their media allies are pretending that Republicans—who are at an enormous overall cash disadvantage—are the ones benefiting from an imagined flood of outside money.

Liberal groups MoveOn.org and MayDay (a Super PAC funded largely Sean Parker, the Facebook billionaire portrayed by Justin Timberlake in “The Social Network”) even have a video contest about the evils of big money in politics. To test their sincerity, my organization has entered the contest (vote here!) with an ad about Steyer. We’re leading the public voting, but I suspect they’ll come up with a reason to not declare us the winner.

Back to the memo:

memo3Just imagine for a moment the wailing and gnashing of teeth if a memo from a billionaire conservative donor announced a “Democrat Haircut Strategy” to use smears and false attacks to depress Democratic turnout. The Steyer strategy is just that: use his billions to muddy the waters with vicious, unsubstantiated attacks in the hopes of depressing Republican turnout. And Politico had this story a month ago, but wrote another article attacking the Kochs instead.

Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment.
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