Friday, May 16, 2014

Tammy Baldwin & Gay Inc Raising $$ for 'Carpetbagger' Sean Eldridge

It's business as usual for the elites of Gay Inc in Washington. They're turning out on May 19 for a pricey fundraiser for Sean Eldridge, the husband of Chris Hughes who has an estimated $700 million sitting in the bank, a young man with a thin political resume (and that's putting it mildly).

Lack of experience and the charge of carpetbagging are not deterring the Victory Fund, the Human Rights Campaign, longtime lesbian power-broker Hilary Rosen, lobbyists Steven Elmendorf and Robert Raben, and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin from organizing and hosting a fundraiser for him.

Why a fellow whose husband is bankrolling his campaign to buy a seat in the House of Representatives needs to be asked.

It's part of the "cost" of doing business in DC. You write a check for my guy, I'll write a check for yours, basically just laundering funds, avoiding limits, and building an astroturf sense of broader support. Contributors want to maintain access to the Hughes and Eldridge checkbooks and The New Republic, not to mention a potential Member of Congress. In many ways it's a can't lose situation for everyone, except ordinary gays and the constituents of the district Eldridge hopes to represent. 

The Associated Press recently covered the race for New York's 19th Congressional District and broached the subject of carpetbagging, which must be a strong concern of longtime locals:

The moves have attracted plenty of attention to the 27-year-old candidate, whose husband is Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. They’ve also stirred partisan accusations that he’s a carpetbagger trying to buy votes in the closely watched race. One Republican campaign email even includes a cartoon of Richie Rich. 

“How could somebody with virtually no experience and absolutely no ties to the district — how can it be that this guy is the candidate for the Democratic Party?” asked the district’s two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook. “Can there be any other explanation? Any other explanation at all, except for money?”  [...]

Eldridge worked for Freedom to Marry during the successful push for same-sex marriage in New York in 2011. He has advocated for campaign finance reform and served on the boards of the local Planned Parenthood and the Poughkeepsie-based environmental group Scenic Hudson.

I guess when you have access to hundreds of millions of dollars, you don't think about starting a political career at the local or county level because being among the 1% entitles you to national office, to your mind. Needless to say, along with the district voters and Gay Inc folks I'll be curious to see the debates between Gibson and his challenger.

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