Why Billionaire Meg Whitman's Hillary Clinton Endorsement Matters

On Tuesday night, Meg Whitman became the latest high-profile Republican to break ranks, telling the New York Times she’d not only be voting for Hillary Clinton but donating to, and fundraising for, the Democratic nominee’s presidential campaign.

In a statement posted to her social media accounts, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO explained why, writing that Donald Trump’s candidacy has “exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division” and denouncing the Republican nominee as a demagogue and a danger to national security.

“I have decided to support Hillary Rodham Clinton,” wrote Whitman. “It is clear to me that Secretary Clinton’s temperament, global experience and commitment to America’s bedrock national values make her the far better choice in 2016 for President of the United States.”

Whitman is one of a growing number of billionaires and Forbes 400 list members to endorse Hillary Clinton in recent days, joining the world’s most successful investor Warren Buffett, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Her defection could prove the most important of the bunch for Clinton. Running an election ground game is expensive, and Whitman is an effective fundraiser with a powerful network of wealthy Republicans and tech players.

The richest self-made woman in Silicon Valley was Mitt Romney’s finance co-chair in 2012. While the Romney campaign didn’t list its ‘bundlers’, as prolific fundraisers are known, a USA Today deep dive into invitations and disclosures showed Whitman joined with fellow Bain & Co alumni to raise at least $4.5 million.

Her team told the Times she’d give at least “mid-six figures” to Clinton’s campaign herself. She has deep pockets: Forbes pegs her net worth at $2.1 billion, mostly thanks to her time as CEO of eBay. She led the online auction giant from $5.7 million in revenues in 1997 to $8 billion at the time of her departure in 2008.

She has also shown a willingness to shell out for political campaigns, spending $144 million of her own fortune in an unsuccessful bid for governor of California in 2010, breaking all records for self-funded federal runs.

While it remains to be seen exactly how much she’ll donate to Clinton’s campaign and its affiliated Super PACs, Whitman’s real significance may be in encouraging other disillusioned Republicans to open their wallets — even if they don’t do so publicly.

As New York Times political reporter Maggie Haberman noted on Tuesday night, Whitman’s GOP peers can give to 501(c)(4) nonprofits, which are not required to disclose donors:

These 501(c)(4) nonprofits came under intense scrutiny during the 2012 political cycle, when a right-wing network led by the conservative industrialist Koch brothers raised over $400 million using groups that cloak their donors.

This time around, it could be Clinton who benefits the most from this so-called “dark money.”

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2016/08/03/why-billionaire-meg-whitmans-hillary-clinton-endorsement-matters/

0 Response to "Why Billionaire Meg Whitman's Hillary Clinton Endorsement Matters"

Post a Comment