Rich people love Jeb Bush: The proof is in his campaign donations

Plutocrats are giving most of their money to Jeb's super PAC, but they spare some change for his campaign, too

Published July 16, 2015 12:00PM (EDT)

  (AP/John Locher)
(AP/John Locher)

Rich people absolutely love Jeb Bush. You know this, right? Because sometimes I write "Rich people absolutely love Jeb Bush" and people ask me, hey, how do you know, pal? Well I know because obviously but if we're looking for hard evidence, let's consider Jeb World's fundraising haul.

The bulk of Jeb's operation, infamously, will be run through his Right to Rise super PAC, which has raised approximately $103 million dollars. That money will be spent on voter outreach, data gathering, and all that boring stuff, but especially on advertisements hammering the crap out of anyone who dares nip Jeb Bush's heels throughout the lengthy primary season. We'll have to wait to see the detailed breakdown of the super PAC report later on, but that money presumably comes mostly from rich people because raising money from rich people who can circumvent donation caps is the whole point of running your campaign through a super PAC.

Then we have the boring old official campaign finance report, released yesterday. Bush raised about $11 million in the second quarter -- not bad, considering he only entered the race in the last month of that quarter. And since the super PAC will be doing most of the work and not coordinating with the campaign at all (hahahaha), his official campaign doesn't need a lot of money -- just enough to cover the candidate's plane tickets and gas money (or, apparently, lots of Uber rides).

But a receptacle for lil' old grannies' mailed $1 donations this official campaign is not. As the Washington Post reported, "Bush's campaign received $368,000 from small donors – less than the $390,000 the candidate himself donated to his own campaign." Bush's own personal donation is thrown in there to cover for his "testing-the-waters" period -- i.e., to cover up all the traveling expenses he made when he was pretending that he hadn't decided whether to run or not.

"Jeb 2016’s first report affirms what we have publicly stated over the past few months — that if Governor Bush engaged in any testing-the-waters activities that they would be paid for appropriately, and that if Governor Bush decided to run for office that any testing-the-waters expenses would be reported at the required time," spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said in a statement. "In the interest of transparency, the campaign has voluntarily identified all testing-the-waters expenses as such on this first report."

You've got to enjoy the brashness of this whole Bush operation. They will push FEC fundraising rules to the absolute brink and nearly obliterate the last remaining campaign finance laws, but they will depict themselves as moral heroes for their commitment to transparency.

We don't know what awful rich people donated the most awful sums to his super PAC yet. There will come a time and a place. The most fun we can have right now, at least, is to do some CTRL-Fing of his 1,966-page itemized donor list.

• 311 list their occupation as "CEO," 133 for "chairman." Sometimes people hold both titles, as rich people frequently do.

• 57 donors are employees of Goldman Sachs. It's 8 for Bank of America, 8 for JPMorgan, 6 for Citigroup. Step it the fuck up, Citigroup!

• There are 230 results for the word "investment" (banker, manager, etc.)

Play around with it yourself!

I mean, whatever. What's sad about this is that, as far as Republican donor bases go, this one is much less frightening than other possibilities! At least investment bankers and CEOs and so forth understand that the debt ceiling needs to be raised and don't throw rocks at gay people.

By Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

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