While many in America are raging against money being funneled into politics, there are out of touch obscenely wealthy people that just don’t get it — or perhaps they do and the power is too irresistible.
Case in point, billionaire investor Kenneth Griffin, the founder and chief executive of Chicago based hedge fund Citadel. Griffin, 43 and possibly his wife Anne have given heavily to Mitt Romney’s campaign.
And there’s more gifting. The Chicago Tribune reports:
In the 2012 election cycle, Griffin (alone or in tandem with his wife Anne) has given $150,000 to Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting Mitt Romney; more than $560,000 to the Republican Governors Association; and $300,000 to American Crossroads, founded by Republican strategists Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove.At the same time, Griffin states, “I spend way too much of my time thinking about politics these days because government is way too involved in financial markets these days.” Griffin says he’s a Reagan Republican.
According to Chicago magazine, the Griffins were the top donors in the 2010 election cycle to Republicansrunning for Illinois legislative seats. Also in 2010, Ken gave $500,000 to American Crossroads and $500,000 to Stand for Children Illinois, an education-reform group that helped win Chicago a longer school day and limited the chances of a Chicago teachers strike.
The Griffins also have given approximately $1.5 million over time to David and Charles Koch‘s conservative causes, which operate under the umbrella Americans for Prosperity.
Question: What do you think in general about the influence of people with your means on the political process? You said shame on the politicians for listening to the CEOs. Do you think the ultrawealthy have an inordinate or inappropriate amount of influence on the political process?
Answer: I think they actually have an insufficient influence. Those who have enjoyed the benefits of our system more than ever now owe a duty to protect the system that has created the greatest nation on this planet. And so I hope that other individuals who have really enjoyed growing up in a country that believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – and economic freedom is part of the pursuit of happiness – (I hope they realize) they have a duty now to step up and protect that. Not for themselves, but for their kids and for their grandchildren and for the person down the street that they don’t even know …