Wealthy political donors brace for shakedown

You’d think that rich political donors would be celebrating today. But the Supreme Court’s decision to lift limits on political giving is actually making some donors miserable.

Oleg Prikhodko | E+ | Getty Images

Oleg Prikhodko | E+ | Getty Images

“This is bad news,” said Jim Chanos, the hedge funder and frequent donor to Democratic politicians.

The reason? Now that there are fewer limits on giving, politicians and parties are going to get far more aggressive in shaking down the rich for campaign cash. While some are calling it the “Great Sellout,” it is also going to become the “Great Shakedown.”

“My inbox and voice mail is going to be clogged,” Chanos said.

He’s got plenty of company—both from Democrats and Republicans. A story in Politico said the wealthy have long used the limits as an excuse for not giving more. Now, the Supreme Court just took that excuse away.

“I’m horrified, planning to delist my phone number and destroy my email address,” Ken Kies, a tax lobbyist and political donor told Politico. “What I was really hoping for is a ban on lobbyists making contributions entirely.”

Added Tony Podesta, a top lobbyist and donor: “The fundraising consultants are the only winners in today’s decision.”

Federal law had capped the total amount a single donor could give at $48,600 to candidate committees and $74,600 in contributions to political action committees and party committees in each two-year cycle. Donors are still limited to their donations to individual candidates.

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