by Max Brantley
The New York Times continues its reporting on the stealth corporate money that threatens to upend the democratic system in America.
A leading example is the American Future Fund, which, as it happens, has been pouring money (a whopping $180,00) into Arkansas to defeat Democrat Chad Causey in the 1st Congressional District. Who are they? Records don't reveal. The Times says:
But interviews found that the group was started with seed money from at least one influential Iowa businessman: Bruce Rastetter, a co-founder and the chief executive of one of the nation’s larger ethanol companies, Hawkeye Energy Holdings, and a rising force in state Republican politics. And hints of a possible agenda emerge from a look at the politicians on the American Future Fund’s hit list. Most have seats on a handful of legislative committees with a direct say in the ethanol industry.
Mr. Rastetter had long been mentioned as a likely backer of the group, and he has now acknowledged through his lawyer that he indeed provided financial support at its inception roughly two years ago. The lawyer, Daniel L. Stockdale, said Mr. Rastetter had not given since, adding, “He does not feel that he should reveal the size of prior contributions.”
Of the 14 “liberal” politicians singled out in a list it released last month, nearly every incumbent sits on a panel with a say over energy or agriculture policy. Five sit on the Agriculture Committee; four others are on related committees with say. One candidate was a staff member on a related panel.