Check out one of Mitt Romney's billionaire angels, for instance. He's Chicago-based hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin, a self-described Reagan Republican who was 20 years old when Reagan left office. Griffin and his wife, Anne, have poured $1.5 million into the Koch Brothers' super PAC, Americans for Prosperity, and $150,000 into Restore Our Future, Romney's super PAC. Plus a few hundred thousand for right-wing causes here and a few hundred thousand for right-wing causes there. They also contributed $200,000 to the mayoral campaign of Rahm Emanuel.
But his political largesse isn't having as much impact as he thinks it ought to:
Do you think the ultrawealthy have an inordinate or inappropriate amount of influence on the political process?Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Decades of decoupling middle-class incomes from economic growth, increasing impoverishment, near-record levels of income and wealth inequality, 35 years of deregulation and lousy enforcement of the regulations that remain, union-busting, off-shoring of jobs and upward transfer of wealth via the tax laws have nothing to do with class warfare. All that's just the natural order. And anybody who tries to upset the natural order—by re-regulating financial institutions, for instance, no matter how modestly—has clearly got it in for "job creators." Not to mention the nation's founders.
A. I think they actually have an insufficient influence. Those who have enjoyed the benefits of our system more than ever now owe a duty to protect the system that has created the greatest nation on this planet. [...]
Q. So do you or don't you think the public should know if you're giving this money?
A. My public policy hat says transparency is valuable. On the flip side, this is a very sad moment in my lifetime. This is the first time class warfare has really been embraced as a political tool. Because we are looking at an administration that has embraced class warfare as being politically expedient, I do worry about the publicity that comes with being willing to both with my dollars and, more importantly, with my voice to stand for what I believe in.
If only Griffin and other members of the mega-rich super PAC contributors had a freer hand, if only hoi oligoi had real influence at the state and federal level, imagine what a fantastic country this would be.