Democrats will whine day in and day out about how evil “the rich” are, but they sure don’t mind taking campaign contributions from the very types of people they complain the most about (emphasis added):
WASHINGTON – Two years ago, former senator John Edwards of North Carolina, gearing up for his second run at the Democratic presidential nomination, gave a speech decrying the “two different economies in this country: one for wealthy insiders and then one for everybody else.”
Four months later, he began working for the kind of firm that to many Wall Street critics embodies the economy of wealthy insiders — a hedge fund.
Edwards became a consultant for Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based firm known mainly for its hedge funds, just as the funds were gaining prominence in the financial world — and in the public consciousness, where awe over their outsize returns has mixed with misgivings about a rarefied industry that is, on the whole, run by and for extremely wealthy people and operates largely in secrecy.
A midsize but growing player in the hedge fund industry with more than $30 billion in assets, Fortress was the first hedge fund manager to go public, thereby subjecting itself to far more scrutiny. But it was an unusual choice of employment for Edwards, who for years has decried offshore tax shelters as part of his broader campaign to reduce inequality. Although Fortress was incorporated in Delaware, its hedge funds were incorporated in the Cayman Islands, enabling its partners and foreign investors to defer or avoid paying U.S. taxes.
Fortress announced Edwards’ hiring as an adviser in a brief statement in October 2005. Neither Edwards — who ended his consulting deal when he launched his presidential campaign in December — nor the firm will say how much he earned or what he did.
But his ties to Fortress were suggested by the first round of campaign finance reports released last week, which showed Edwards raised $167,460 in donations from Fortress employees for his 2008 presidential campaign, making it his largest source of support from a single company.
Edwards’ connection to Fortress is only one sign of the booming $1.4 trillion hedge fund industry’s emergence in national politics. During the 2006 election, its executives and employees accounted for $6 million in campaign contributions, the first time its giving was tracked as a separate industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, for whom Wall Street is an especially key constituency, count hedge fund executives as donors and fundraisers for their presidential campaigns. One of Sen. Barack Obama’s biggest presidential fundraisers is a hedge fund manager — Orin Kramer, general partner of Boston Provident Partners LP in New York and a longtime Democratic fundraiser.
Bloomberg reported last year that two-thirds of the campaign contributions from hedge fund employees went to Democrats in 2005 and 2006:
Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) — Democrats are collecting more than two-thirds of the campaign donations from employees of the biggest hedge funds and buyout firms, as the party taps into one of Wall Street’s fastest-growing sources of wealth.
Of the $7.4 million contributed by employees of the 100 largest hedge funds and 50 biggest buyout firms in 2005-06, Democrats received $5 million, Federal Election Commission records show. The biggest checks went to congressional campaign committees led by New York Senator Charles Schumer and Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel, which took in $2.8 million.
This from the so-called ‘party of change’? Lying hypocrites.
The latest Democrat motto: What’s good for me, is not good for thee!
Oh, and speaking of John Edwards, heappeared on the Ed Schultz radio show on Monday and tried to explain how ’embarassed’ he was about “Haircutgate”:
CHAPEL HILL – Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Monday called the flap over his $400 haircuts “embarrassing” and said he didn’t realize at the time the cost of the Beverly Hills stylist.
Appearing on the nationally syndicated Ed Schultz radio show, the former North Carolina senator said his staff had arranged for the two haircuts in his hotel room to save time during busy West Coast campaign swings.
“This particular thing is really embarrassing,” Edwards told radio listeners and an audience of about 250 people in the Carolina Union auditorium at UNC-Chapel Hill. “No one should pay $400 for a haircut.”
Which must be why you didn’t just get one $400 haircut Senator, but two. In less than a month.