As the midterm elections approach, a group of major GOP donors, led by Paul Singer, a New York billionaire, is quietly expanding its political footprint. In what appears to be an increasingly assertive effort to shape the direction of the Republican Party, the operation was launched last year. A club called the American Opportunity Alliance was discreetly formed to bring together some of the richest pro-business GOP donors in the country. Several of those donors share Singer’s support for gay rights, immigration reform and the state of Israel. At about the same time, Singer and his allies also formed a federal fundraising committee called Friends for an American Majority. That group raised huge amounts for a select list of the GOP’s most highly touted 2014 Senate hopefuls.
A few big donors can now command tremendous influence on the efforts of government in the post-Citizens United era. A small group of wealthy individuals can “reorder elections” with just a few huge checks, and the recipients – if elected – are obligated to do this bidding. That new reality has shifted some of the power and control once maintained by the parties and their candidates to factions of major donors. The libertarian-infused Koch network is a prime example of how that works.
The American Opportunity Alliance is registered as a for-profit corporation in Delaware. The group appears to represent a new center of gravity in the world of GOP money – politics. The effort is anchored by a famously prolific Republican bundler with a distinct ideological agenda. It will be most interesting to see how this works out as we approach this year’s general election and move on toward 2016.
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