Calif. Millionaire a Top Contributor to Mississippi Dem

$20k contribution made up more than 10% of Democrat Jim Hood’s fundraising haul

Jim Hood / Getty Images
June 13, 2019

California millionaire Stephen Silberstein, a member of the liberal megadonor network Democracy Alliance, contributed $20,000 to Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood’s gubernatorial campaign in the most recent campaign filing period, making him one of Hood’s largest donors so far this year.

The money from Silberstein, a major donor to Democratic candidates and groups across the country, accounted for over 10 percent of Hood’s total contributions in the most recent filing period, during which he raised about $180,000.

Mississippi does not have contribution limits on what individuals can give to statewide and legislative candidates, and Hood’s most recent campaign-finance filings shows just two donations that are larger than Silberstein’s contribution.

National Democrats are hopeful Hood, who has been elected four times as Mississippi’s attorney general, will make this November’s gubernatorial election competitive. Hood has been referred to as "The Last Democrat in Dixie" by one writer, who points out every other governor, attorney general, and secretary of state currently in office in the Deep South is a Repulican.

Silberstein has a long history of supporting Democrats on the national level and sits on the board for National Popular Vote Inc., a 501(c)4 dedicated to implementing a nationwide popular election for president. In 2016, he was among one of the top 20 donors to Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, contributing $800,000 to the committee.

So far this year, he has donated to a variety of federal Democratic candidates and committees including $70,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

A member of Democracy Alliance, Silberstein is also affiliated with "Patriotic Millionaires," a group of millionaire liberal donors "committed to raising the minimum wage, combatting the influence of big money in politics, and advancing a progressive tax structure."

Democracy Alliance was originally founded in 2005 with the help of progressive billionaire George Soros and, according to its website, is "the largest network of donors dedicated to building the progressive movement in the United States." Environmental activist and billionaire Tom Steyer, who has led a heavily financed campaign calling for President Trump’s impeachment, is also a member of the secretive liberal donor network.

Vox has credited the organization with helping "set the progressive agenda" by "coordinating grants from about 80 to 100 left-leaning donors."

Hood is expected to face Republican lieutenant governor Tate Reeves, who has amassed a nearly $6 million war chest ahead of this year’s race. During the campaign, Reeves has directed his attacks on Hood as an ally of the "radical national Democratic Party."

"I will say no even when powerful special interest demand a yes," Reeves said at his campaign launch contrasting himself with Hood. "I will say no when yes is popular but too expensive."

Silberstein’s 2019 giving thus far includes two max contributions to 2020 Democratic presidential candidates: South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.). His contribution to Hood appears to be the only donation he has made to a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2019.

The Hood campaign did not respond to requests for comment on the large contribution.