Rich give big to Clinton de­spite can­di­date’s tax hike plans

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY SETH MCLAUGH­LIN AND STEPHEN DINAN

Hil­lary Clinton is threat­en­ing to raise their taxes, but wealthy Amer­i­cans don’t ap­pear to mind — they’ve given to her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign at record rates.

More than three-quar­ters of her con­tri­bu­tions came from large-dol­lar donors who have given at least $200, in­clud­ing some 1,250 donors who “maxed out” to her cam­paign in July or Au­gust by giv­ing a to­tal of $5,400.

Mean­while, Don­ald Trump, de­spite a tax plan that would most ben­e­fit the wealthy, is strug­gling to get them to pony up for his cam­paign.

He at­tracted just 170 maxed-out donors in July and Au­gust — one-sev­enth the rate of Mrs. Clinton — while twothirds of his con­tri­bu­tions are from small-dol­lar donors who have given less than $200.

“That Trump has found some suc­cess in rais­ing small con­tri­bu­tions is not sur­pris­ing,” said An­thony Cor­rado, gov­ern­ment pro­fes­sor at Colby Col­lege who spe­cial­izes in cam­paign fi­nance. “His pop­ulist ap­peals, com­bined with the strong par­ti­san op­po­si­tion to Clinton, es­pe­cially among con­ser­va­tives, are well suited to on­line and di­rect mail small-donor fundrais­ing. His cam­paign is fi­nally start­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on his ap­peal to small donors, al­though they be­gan very late in the process.”

In­deed, Mr. Trump didn’t even ac­tively so­licit funds for most of the pri­mary, pay­ing out of his own pocket for all but a slim frac­tion of his ex­penses.

Since be­com­ing the GOP’s nom­i­nee, he’s hit the fundrais­ing cir­cuit, but also has dou­bled down on the on­line fundrais­ing that worked so well for Pres­i­dent Obama.

While not in Mr. Obama’s league, Mr. Trump did an­nounce an on­line haul of $6 mil­lion in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of last week’s de­bate, with the money flow­ing to both his cam­paign and his joint vic­tory op­er­a­tion with the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee.

Since June 1 small donors have given Mr. Trump al­most $11 mil­lion more than they have given to Mrs. Clinton.

Still, Mrs. Clinton has been in a stronger fi­nan­cial po­si­tion through­out the gen­eral election, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the New York busi­ness­man’s slow start on the fundrais­ing front and a well-es­tab­lished po­lit­i­cal net­work decades in the mak­ing.

The fi­nan­cial edge has been a dou­bleedged sword.

On the one hand, she has been able to in­vest more on tele­vi­sion ads and cam­paign staff. On the other hand, it has fed Mr. Trump’s at­tempts to cast her as a stooge for big donors.

“Hil­lary Clinton is an in­sider fight­ing only for her­self and for her donors,” Mr. Trump said while cam­paign­ing in Michigan. “I’m an out­sider fight­ing for you.”

Mrs. Clinton’s maxed-out donors shrugged off Mr. Trump’s ac­cu­sa­tions.

“Like so many of Trump’s lines, it just has no cred­i­bil­ity,” said Warren Ross of Florida, who do­nated $2,700 to Mrs. Clinton in the pri­mary and another $2,700 in the gen­eral af­ter Mr. Trump emerged as her chal­lenger.

Mr. Ross said he considers him­self part of the top 1 per­cent based on in­come, and said he strongly fa­vors peo­ple like him­self pay­ing more in taxes be­cause he has be­come in­creas­ingly con­cerned about in­come equal­ity in the na­tion.

Mr. Ross said he is sur­prised that the race is so close, and said Mr. Trump is play­ing off so­ci­ety’s “dark im­pulses” by ap­peal­ing to peo­ple’s prej­u­dices.

“It re­ally is a bit of a strug­gle for the soul of the coun­try,” he said of the election.

New Hamp­shire state Rep. Su­san Almy said she pulled $5,400 out of her re­tire­ment ac­count to help the Clinton cam­paign be­cause she be­lieves Mr. Trump would be a “to­tal dis­as­ter” on the world stage, and Mrs. Clinton could fin­ish some of the things Mr. Obama started, in­clud­ing tran­si­tion­ing away from fos­sil fu­els.

“I think she is in the league of Lyn­don John­son as a politi­cian, and that she is very, very, in­tel­li­gent about pol­icy,” Ms. Almy said.

As for the do­na­tion, she quipped, “As I get more wor­ried about what has hap­pened to the Repub­li­can Party, I get more reck­less with my sav­ings.”

Fed­eral Election Com­mis­sion records are bro­ken down into un-item­ized small-dol­lar donors — those who’ve given less than $200 in to­tal, and whose names don’t need to be re­ported — and the large-dol­lar item­ized con­tri­bu­tions, where cam­paigns need to re­port names, ad­dresses and oc­cu­pa­tions of those giv­ing.

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