Sean Eldridge is a Democrat running for Congress in New York’s 19th congressional district. He hasn’t lived there for very long; Eldridge and his husband, Facebook multi-millionaire/poke-button pioneer and New Republic editor-in-chief Chris Hughes, have had to shop around to find a suitable district for Eldridge to run in.
But now that’s he’s there in NY-19, Eldridge has pledged to run a "different kind of campaign." He touts himself as "a leader in the fight to reform our broken campaign finance system and reduce the power of money and special interests in politics." Naturally, he blasted the Supreme Court’s ruling Wednesday that lifts restrictions on political donations:
Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a disappointing step backwards for our democracy. It further weakens our country’s campaign finance rules and the core idea that our country was founded on – a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Right now the voices of everyday New Yorkers are being drowned out by the big money and corporate interests in our politics, and today’s ruling only makes that problem worse.
The Supreme Court’s ruling did not, however, place any new restrictions on how much money a candidate can donate to his or her own campaign. That’s great news for Eldridge, who also happens to be the single largest contributor to the Eldridge campaign, having donated at least $715,000 of "his" fortune thus far, according to the campaign’s most recent financial disclosures.
Unions will still be able to contribute massive amounts to Democratic candidates, which is also great news for Eldridge, who evidently does not consider unions to be part of the "special interests" he decries. The high court’s ruling will also allow one-percenters such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Eric Schmidt, George Soros, and left-wing eco-billionaire Tom Steyer, to contribute even more money to Eldridge’s campaign than they already have. And the ruling will not prevent Eldridge from holding fundraisers at Manhattan penthouses owned by Goldman Sachs executives.
But Eldridge has a point. We should be ever wary of efforts to curtail the ability of any American to marry rich, buy multiple mansions in multiple congressional districts before settling down, run for Congress, donate more than $700,000 to their own campaign, raise money from billionaires, and be an "independent voice" for hard-working middle-class families.