The hunt for big dollars began in January 2015 outside Palm Springs, CA, at a luxury hillside resort. There, the emerging crop of Republican presidential candidates jockeyed to impress the millionaires and billionaires who make up the Koch political network. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas jetted in from a forum in Iowa, joined by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The Koch meeting was the beginning of a busy circuit of donor retreats held in exclusive locales such as Palm Beach, FL, and Sea Island, GA, that defined the early months of 2015 — an indicator of the new dominance the super-rich would have in the presidential contest. In the end, there would be plenty of big checks to go around. And rich benefactors, it turned out, would have a limited ability to keep their chosen candidates aloft. But the all-consuming pursuit of mega-donors had a deeper, more fundamental effect on the 2016 presidential race.
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“It sent the message to the public, much more so than usual, that there was a wealth primary and that the candidates were being selected by a handful of wealthy kingmakers,” said Trevor Potter, a Member at Caplin & Drysdale and president of the Campaign Legal Center, which seeks to limit money flowing into elections. “And it affected the candidates, in the sense that that became what they were focused on.” For the full article, please visit The Washington Post’s website.
Excerpt taken from the article “How the Stampede for Big Money Enabled Donald Trump’s Rise” by Matea Gold for The Washington Post.