One of the defining features of this election is the obscene amount of “dark” money that wealthy Americans are pouring into this election with little transparency or accountability. The New York Times recently published an expose detailing how only 158 families have donated half of all the money given to candidates so far this cycle. A Reddit user going by the name “relevantlife” did a closer look, and the results speak for themselves. These are the names of some of the biggest threats to the integrity of our democracy and the financial force behind climate change denial in America:
A week or so ago, I saw this NYT article (which speaks about them all living in the same neighborhood) talking about how 150 or so billionaire families are donating way more money to political candidates than the rest of America.
The article, however, did not talk about who these people were.
7 of them live in the same neighborhood country club in Houston, Texas. Let’s meet them, shall we?
Jeffery Hildebrand is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Hillcorp Energy Company. He formerly worked for Exxon, and he is worth 4.5 billion dollars. He donated 50k to Romney’s superPAC in 2012, 32k to the RNC in 2014 and has donated over 365k to Rick Perry.
John Nau is President and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, the largest distributor for Anheuser Busch. He is worth 1.5 billion dollars. In 2012 he gave 100k to the Texas Conservative Fund, in 2014 he donated 125k to Karl Rove’s superPAC American Crossroads and in 2015 he has given 500k to Right to Rise, Jeb Bush’s superPAC.
Fayez Sarofim is an Egyptian born business mogul who is the second largest shareohlder in Kinder Morgan Oil and Gas. He is worth 1.9 billion dollars. He has given generously to GOP causes in the past.
James Flores is the CEO of Freeport McMorgan Oil and gas. In 2012, he donated 30k to Senate Republicans and in 2014 he donated 52k to John Boehner and 25k to the Senate Majority PAC. So far in 2015, he has given 250k to Jeb Bush’s superPAC and 43k to John Cornyn.
Bob McNair is the owner of the Houston Texans. He is worth 2.4 billion dollars. He donated 3.4 million supporting Romney since 2009, and he has given 500k each to Cruz, Walker, Graham and Bush.
Hushang Ansary is an Iranian born diplomat, businessman and philanthropist. He has given 2 million to Jeb’s superPAC.
Richard Kinder is the Co-founder and Chairman of Kinder Morgan Oil and Gas. He is worth 11.5 billion dollars. He gave 79k to John Boehner in 2014 and 1 million to Jeb’s superPAC.
Here are the oligarchs who are attempting to buy our government. They all live in the same neighborhood. Many come from the ENERGY sector, which takes away any surprise from the fact that the GOP denies climate change.
Now you know where the money is coming from.
It comes as little surprise that many of these men are from the energy sector. This is a disturbing look into the people who are trying to buy themselves a President, thanks to their conservative allies on the Supreme Court and Citizens United. We cannot allow these men to co-opt our democracy and rule us as an oligarchy of the wealthy.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.