Rich Democrats appear to be downplaying their contributions to the Obama campaign to aid the president’s populist claims about money in politics.
A Politico piece outlining President Obama’s inability to connect to wealthy liberals described Boston trial lawyer Shaw McDermott as a $3,000 Democratic donor. That is a gross underestimation, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.
McDermott has pledged to bundle between $100,000 and $200,000 for the Obama campaign. McDermott has also attempted to disguise his donations by using his full name to make political donations. “William Shaw McDermott” has donated more than $32,000 to Democratic candidates in the 2012 cycle. The money has led to three White House visits each for McDermott and his wife since Obama took office.
Politico encountered McDermott, along with a number of other big money Obama supporters, outside of an exclusive meeting between the campaign and wealthy donors.
Politico reporters were subsequently threatened with arrest for attempting to chronicle the meeting.
Obama has been courting rich donors for years after its record-setting cash haul during the 2008 presidential race. His most recent overtures have given him access to the Democracy Alliance, a shadowy group of Democratic billionaires that generated more than $100 million for liberal causes between 2005 and 2008. The group was created with the help of left-wing billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis to fund small liberal groups, rather than campaigns. Republican success forced the group to embrace electoral politics.
In November 2010, Obama dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to convince the Alliance to pump money into the re-election campaign. While wealthy liberals have publicly told the New Yorker and Politico that Obama has not benefitted from big money donations, the Alliance agreed to include Obama’s Super PAC, Priorities USA, in groups eligible to receive donations. Alliance members have ramped up their donations since the announcement.
McDermott was not the only politically connected lawyer at the big ticket fundraiser.
Don Hinkle, who has bundled between $200,000 and $500,000 for the Obama campaign in 2012, also attended the DNC events for mega-donors. The prominent Florida trial lawyer has lobbied Obama to eliminate any and all attempts at tort reform. He has been an active liberal donor for more than 20 years, contributing more than $400,000 to Democrats since 1992, including more than $280,000 in the past three election cycles. He visited the White House six times since Obama took office.
Manhattan attorney Craig Kaplan and his philanthropist wife, Anne Hess, also attended the fundraiser; they have visited the White House three times since 2008. They have pumped more than $135,000 to Democratic candidates in the past two years after helping sponsor Obama’s inauguration in 2008.
Obama has spent more than his campaign took in for the past three months.
Meanwhile, the Obama-affiliated Super PAC has raised more than $10 million for his re-election campaign and used the money to pay for an ad that suggests Republican nominee Mitt Romney was responsible for the death of a woman from cancer.