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Entries in Republicans (15)

Wednesday
Nov072012

Who Was the Biggest Financial Loser on Election Day? 

Creatas/Hemera/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson gambled more than $54 million on Tuesday's elections. And he lost.

The quixotic chairman of the Las Vegas Sands gaming company rose to the top of campaign giving in 2012, gaining notoriety for almost single-handedly staking the campaign of Republican primary contender Newt Gingrich and then continuing to make audacious contributions once Gingrich dropped out – with millions more going to GOP nominee Mitt Romney and two super PACs supporting his bid.

Tuesday, he emerged as arguably the single biggest loser of the campaign, financially speaking. In addition to investing in Gingrich and Romney, Adelson and his relatives donated to the U.S. House campaigns of Rep. Allan West of Florida and New Jersey Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and the Senate runs of Virginia's George Allen, Florida's Connie Mack, and Texas's David Dewhurst -- all lost. (Dewhurst never made it past the primary.) His sole consolation was helping fund the defeat of hometown nemesis Shelley Berkley, who lost her bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

Not that Adelson's likely to feel much of a sting. Adelson, 79, owns 49 percent of the Las Vegas Sands casino company, of which he is chairman. The company's operations in Macau and elsewhere in Asia have made it the world's leading gambling operation. His estimated net worth is north of $20.5 billion.

Throughout the campaign, there was widespread speculation about his motives for donating so much this cycle. Adelson is a major supporter of Israel and Israel-related causes. He has also been embroiled in a controversy surrounding his company's sizable operation in Macau, a Chinese island that has outpaced Las Vegas as a source of gambling revenue.

ABC News previously reported that Adelson's company has been the subject of a criminal investigation for the last year by the Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission for alleged bribery of foreign officials, according to corporate documents. A separate civil lawsuit filed by a former Sands executive has further alleged that Adelson ordered him to keep quiet about the casinos' purported "involvement with Chinese organized crime groups." Adelson has publicly dismissed the allegations as frivolous.

In its filings with the SEC, Adelson's company says it became aware of the investigation in February 2011. The company said it "intends to cooperate with the investigation." At a gaming forum in 2011, Adelson said the lawsuit "is not a serious case" and that the federal investigations would find no wrongdoing. "When the smoke clears, I am 1,000 percent positive that there won't be any fire below it."

Sands corporate spokesman Ron Reese did not return messages left at his office Wednesday.

If Adelson's goal in donating so much to the 2012 campaigns was to open a channel of access to high-level federal officials (he has denied he is seeking access), experts said he is now safe in assuming that effort has failed.

"I don't think he has bridges to the Obama administration," said Bill Allison, who follows campaign giving for the Sunlight Foundation.

"One reason we always think people give, especially that much money, is they want access," Allison said. "They want an appointment or an ambassadorship. They want the ability to pick up the phone and call the White House. He definitely won't have that. He has cut himself off by coming out so strongly on one side."

But will he be subject to reprisals, having put so much money behind an effort to defeat President Obama?

A White House spokesman responded to that question succinctly: "No."

Allison said he does not believe Adelson's lost wager will dissuade future wealthy political enthusiasts from throwing large amounts of money behind a political candidate.

"I have no doubt," Allison said, "that some other billionaire will feel like he can make a huge impact on the political system with a small fraction of his fortune."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Five Most Generous States for Charities Mostly Lean Republican

ABC News/Ma'ayan Rosenzweig(NEW YORK) -- Which states are more generous about giving money to charities?  Red or blue states?  A report by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, "How America Gives," uses the most recent available IRS data from 2008 to find out.

The answer, according to the report, is that people in Republican-leaning states give somewhat more, mostly because of religious ties.  The Chronicle studied individual tax returns and studied demographic characteristics such as religion and political affiliation.  The report found that states that were in favor of the 2008 presidential candidate John McCain gave higher percentages of discretionary income toward charities.

The state of Utah, where a majority of residents are Mormon and encouraged to give 10 percent of their income to the church, had the highest percentage -- 10.6 percent.  Residents in Utah had an estimated median discretionary income of $49,551.

The state of Utah shows how important religion is to giving, said Peter Panepento, the Chronicle of Philanthropy's assistant managing editor.  In Utah, the estimated median contribution was $5,255, as reported to the IRS on itemized tax returns.

The District of Columbia followed Utah, with people there giving an average of 7.7 percent of their salaries to charity.  The district, the only ranking in the top five that swung Democrat in the last presidential election, has an estimated median discretionary income of $39,045.

After religion, diversity, especially in an urban area such as the District of Columbia, is a major factor affecting philanthropy.  In other words, where and with whom someone lives affects his or her giving habits, Panepento said.

People who made over $200,000 a year and lived in wealthier ZIP codes gave in lower numbers than those in more economically diverse ZIP codes, the Chronicle found.

Mississippi, a Bible-belt state, ranked third in philanthropic giving, another example of the relationship between giving and religion.  The state had an estimated median contribution of $3,998 with a giving percentage of 7.2 percent of income.  The estimated median discretionary income was $55,264.

The state of Alabama ranked fourth with a giving percentage of 7.1 percent and an estimated median giving contribution of $4,007.  The estimated median income for residents is $56,493.

Also in the Bible belt, Alabama has strong religious ties that encourage people to give more of their income to the church and charitable causes.

The state of Tennessee ranked fifth, with a giving rate of 6.6 percent and a median contribution of $3,807.  The median discretionary income is $58,097.

A number of religious denominations are headquartered in Tennessee, including the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Baptist Convention.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul192012

Senate Kills Anti-Outsourcing Bill; Democrats Point to Romney, GOP Points to Obama's Economy

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate has rejected further consideration of a bill Democrats say would have eliminated existing tax breaks for employers who ship their jobs overseas. While Republicans sought to squash it as political theater on the part of the Democrats, Dems admit quarreling over the “Bring Jobs Home Act” was openly influenced by the 2012 presidential campaign.

“It’s fairly easy to see why Republicans are blocking our bill to stop outsourcing,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said at a press conference before the vote. “They’re obviously defending their presidential nominee, who of course made a fortune by shipping jobs overseas.” Reid's home state of Nevada is suffering from one of the worst unemployment rates in the union.

Reid was referring to Mitt Romney’s past involvement with Bain Capital, the private investment firm Democrats say bought companies, laid off many of their American workers, and outsourced their jobs. With more dismal economic news on their plates this week, Democrats have made Romney’s history with Bain a central talking point on the trail.

Senator Richard Durbin, D-Ill., followed Reid, saying that Thursday’s vote was about turning the Republican position on outsourcing into “a matter of record.”

“So the dance ends, the music ends and the votes are counted,” he said. “And we can find out whether or not the Republican senators support the Bain Capital investment strategy of exporting jobs overseas.”

Under existing law, employers may take tax deductions for the costs associated with moving jobs out of the country. The proposed legislation would have eliminated that, and used the resulting new revenue to fund a 20 percent tax credit for the costs companies run up “insourcing” labor back into the U.S.

The bill failed 56-42. A count of 60 was required to end discussion and move to a final vote.

To further push the issue, Democrats held a conference call with employees from Sensata Technologies, an electronics hardware manufacturer that plans to close its Freeport, Ill., plant at the end of the year and move those operations to China. Democrats say 150 people will be laid off in the process. Sensata, formerly known as the Sensors and Controls division of Texas Instruments, was spun off to Bain in 2006 for a reported $3 billion. The call was held after the vote.

“There is no reason in the world this would not have passed except for so many of the Republican senators have other interests,” said Tom Gaulrupp, a 33-year veteran of the company.

Gaulrupp says there was never a year the company did not draw a profit. Another employee, Lin Feller, was more frank:

“They do not care about us. The average guy on the street, they just do not care about us.”

On the House floor Thursday morning the ranking Republican member of the Senate finance committee called the bill “a joke,” suggesting President Obama’s campaign staff were its true authors.

“It’s devoid of serious content because it is of political rather than economic priorities,” Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said.

Speaking on the House floor, Hatch said it was “misleading” for Democrats to say there is a tax break for outsourcing. Holding up a large book, Hatch said the Democrats were trying to invent controversy.

“I’ll keep this book of tax codes at my desk here. If someone wants to show me the tax code that allows deductions for shipping jobs overseas. I’d like to see it. But it’s not in here.”

Congressional analysts at the Joint Committee on Taxation say $14 million could be raised next year from removing outsourcing credits, compared to a cost of $21 million for bringing those jobs back. Hatch points out the relatively low sum has already been passed in Obama campaign ads on the issue.

Three Republicans voted in favor of the bill: Senators Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Scott Brown.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul182012

GOP Zaps President's Backing of Electric Automaker Fisker, Obama's 'You Didn't Build That' Comments

Fisker Automotive Inc.'s Atlantic plug-in hybrid vehicle is unveiled in New York, US, on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will spearhead an effort to re-focus attention on the 2009 economic stimulus and instances where American money was used by companies to outsource jobs or help create business overseas.

Priebus will make the argument at an event in Philadelphia and focus specifically on Fisker, the start-up electric car company that received part of a $529 million federal government loan guarantee from the Obama Administration.

A recent TV ad produced by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign lumps Fisker in with failed solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.

Fisker has not gone bankrupt like Solyndra, but it has not yet carried through on plans to begin assembling cars in a U.S. manufacturing plant, either.

Fisker purchased a shuttered General Motors plant in Delaware with government help, and predicted it would one day employ 2,000 auto workers to assemble the clean-burning gas-electric family car, known as the Atlantic. That promise was enough for the Obama administration, apparently, but didn't materialize when the rubber hit the road -- as it never actually did: The Atlantic was already behind schedule when the company’s unsteady financial footing prompted the Department of Energy to freeze their loan payments.

The car company has continued to receive private financing and now says it will consider looking elsewhere -- including overseas -- for a cheaper place to produce its vehicles.

Of its initial $529 million loan guarantee, Fisker has so far received $169 million in stimulus funds. That money was used for the Karma, a $100,000 hybrid sports sedan that was assembled in Finland and is being championed by the owner of the very first Karma -- Leonardo DiCaprio. The company recently went public with its design for the less expensive Atlantic -- but it is likely to be years before that car is ready for the showroom.

“This is just another example of the president’s record of sending jobs overseas when he promised stimulus efforts would create jobs here in America,” RNC spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski.

Priebus will also focus on the news that the president’s job council hasn’t met in six months as well as continuing to blast the president for his comments regarding  entrepreneurs and Made in America businesses. On the campaign trail, Obama said, "If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen," claiming it was the government -- not individual ability, intellectual genius or business prowess -- that made American companies grow. 

The Romney campaign seized on the comments as evidence that the president is anti-capitalist. On the campaign stump Tuesday, Gov. Romney said to rising applause, "The idea, to say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn't build Ford Motor, that Papa John didn’t build Papa John Pizza, that Ray Kroc didn’t build McDonald's, that Bill Gates didn't build Microsoft…To say something like that is not just foolishness, it's insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America, and it's wrong. President Obama attacks success and therefore under President Obama we have less success, and I will change that."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun062012

Warren Buffett Is No ‘Card-Carrying Democrat’

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett may be the poster child for President Obama’s tax plan, but the investment tycoon insists he is not a “card-carrying Democrat.”

“I support certain Republicans,” Buffet told members of Washington, D.C.’s Economic Club Tuesday night. “Actually this year I gave money to a Republican congressman.”

While Buffett didn’t name the recipient of his rare cross-party donation, Federal Election Commission data shows that Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell was the lucky beneficiary.

Buffett gave Rigell the maximum legal campaign donation of $2,500, although that’s substantially less than the $70,000 he has given to help re-elect President Obama over the past two years.

Buffett, who was in Washington for his 65th high school reunion, joked that having a tax named after him was not his first choice for a namesake.

President Obama dubbed his plan to institute a minimum 30 percent tax rate on millionaires the “Buffett Rule” after the billionaire lamented that his secretary paid a higher tax rate than he does.

“I couldn’t get a disease named after me so I settled for a tax,” Buffett joked.

While Buffett has long supported increasing the current income tax rate for the wealthy, he said Tuesday that historically speaking, “our country works” despite the ever-fluctuating tax rates.

“I’ve operated under all kinds of tax rates including 39.6 percent on capital gains and the country has grown under all these circumstances,” Buffett said.

But with the national debt topping $15 trillion, Buffett said “somebody has to step up” and set up a plan to raise at least $300 billion more in taxes each year and bring spending down to about 20 percent of GDP.

“Just talking about reform won’t solve anything on either the expenditures side or the revenue side,” Buffett said. “I mean you’ve got to get specific about it.”

Despite the growing national debt, the looming tax fight on Capitol Hill and the still struggling economic recovery, Buffet said he was optimistic about the American economy.  After all, Buffet noted, GDP per capita is six times higher than when he was born in 1930.

“It’s essential,” Buffett said of his optimism. “We’re not smarter than the people in 1930, we don’t worker harder than the people in 1930, we just have a system that works and has been working since 1776 and will keep working.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun012012

Walmart Cuts Funds to Conservative Group, Cash Flow to GOP Continues

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Walmart joined an ever-growing list this week of American business giants that have cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council after the conservative group strayed from the company's mission.

Instead of sticking solely to economic issues, ALEC has recently ventured into social topics like gun laws and voter ID requirements, issues that Walmart president Maggie Sans said make the divide between ALEC’s activities and Walmart’s mission “too wide.”

But while America’s largest retailer is publicly backing away from this conservative cause, Wal-Mart’s owners are still pumping major money into conservative candidates.

The Walton family, which owns Walmart, has already donated $624,100 to Republican candidates and Super PACs this cycle, according to disclosure data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics. Ninety percent of those donations went to support GOP presidential candidates.

Jim Walton, the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton and the eighth richest man in America according to Forbes, initially put his money behind Jon Huntsman. The billionaire gave $2,500 to Huntsman’s campaign and $100,000 to Our Destiny PAC, which supported Huntsman. But after Huntsman’s campaign floundered, Walton switched his support to Romney, dumping $200,000 into the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future and another $2,500 into the Romney campaign.

Walton’s sister-in-law Christy split her campaign contributions among two GOP contenders, both of which were among the first four candidates to drop out of the race. In November she showed some billionaire love for Jon Huntsman, giving $50,000 to the Super PAC supporting him and $2,500 to his campaign.

Days after then-candidate Herman Cain was accused of sexual harassment, Walton donated the legal maximum of $2,500 to his campaign.

Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam Walton, has kept all of her donations fixed on Romney, giving the maximum $2,500 to his campaign and an additional $200,000 to the Super PAC supporting him.

None of the Waltons have donated to Democrats, Federal Election Commission reports show.

But while the Waltons are stridently conservative in their campaign contributions, the people that work for them are a bit more bipartisan.

So far in 2012 Walmart employees and its affiliated political action committees have split the $620,000 that they have donated so far in 2012 fairly equally between Republican and Democratic candidates.

Unlike Walmart’s owners, the company’s political action committee leans a bit to the left this year, giving $2,000 more to Democratic candidates than to Republicans, a wide departure from the PAC’s Republican past. In the 2004 election the PAC gave 3.5 times as much to GOP candidates as they gave to Democrats.

Steven V. Restivo, Walmart’s senior director of community affairs, insisted that the company’s campaign contributions are not pegged toward a party but toward particular policies.

“At Walmart, we have a long history of supporting elected officials on both sides of the aisle,” Restivo said in an email to ABC News. “The company contributes to candidates that are supportive of issues that are important to our customers, associates and shareholders.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr192012

House Passes Small Business Tax Cut

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass a $46 billion small business tax cut that Republicans hope will lead to economic growth by enabling entrepreneurs to deduct 20 percent of their income. Democrats condemn the cut as another giveaway for the richest American taxpayers.

By a mostly ideological vote of 235-173, the House approved the cut, which was a top priority for Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp. Just 18 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with the GOP majority, although 10 Republicans voted against it.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the cut takes “the opposite approach of the stimulus” by empowering employers to make decisions on how more of their hard-earned money is spent. The bill faces a tough road ahead, with overwhelming opposition in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Still, Boehner called on President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to get behind the legislation, instead of “pushing for higher taxes to fuel more government spending.”

“This week, Democratic leaders in the Senate demonstrated their desire to continue the spending binge that’s hurting our economy by punting on a budget for the third straight year,” Boehner stated. “With millions of Americans still asking, ‘Where are the jobs?,' I hope the president and Senate Democrats will relent and work with Republicans to find common ground so we can help the private sector put people back to work.”

Most House Democrats voted against the measure, decrying the measure for providing further breaks to the wealthy and adding to the deficit.

“You have to give [Republicans] credit. They are consistent, and they stick with the guy that [brought] them to the dance, and that’s the wealthiest people in America,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters at a news conference following the vote. “Fifty-six percent of this tax giveaway goes to the top three percent earners in our country. It gives an average of $58,800 -- $58,800 to the 125,000 millionaires, and they don’t have to create one job. They can create them overseas.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar132012

Romney: Obama Trying to Blame GOP for High Gas Prices

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(KIRKWOOD, Missouri) -- Mitt Romney said President Obama’s assertion that concerns about war between Iran and Israel in the Middle East are to blame for rising gas prices is a “pretty tough one to follow” and suggested the president is trying to deflect blame to his Republican rivals.

In an interview with ABC affiliate KVUE Monday, the president said concern about the Middle East and war there contributes to escalating gas prices.

“In the short term, the biggest driver is what’s happening in the Middle East and the concerns over war there. A couple of weeks ago I said, ‘Let’s stop with the loose talk about war,” Obama said.

Romney said the president was trying to pin blame on Republicans for gas prices.

“He said [the reason we have high gasoline prices] is because Republican presidential candidates are talking in a very muscular way about Iran and their nuclear program,” said Romney, speaking at an outdoor event outside St. Louis. “Now that’s a pretty tough one to follow, alright.”

“And frankly it’s disappointing to have the president of the United States take a serious foreign policy issue which is Iran, the state sponsor of terror in the world becoming nuclear, and trying to turn that into saying we’re somehow responsible for high gasoline prices in this country,” Romney continued.

Obama reiterated the talking point about “loose talk” of war, the Middle East and gas prices several times on Monday during a series of interviews in Washington, D.C., with local TV stations from throughout the country.

“The biggest driver of these high gas prices is speculation about possible war in the Middle East, which is why we’ve been trying to reduce some of the loose talk about why war there,” Obama said during a separate interview with ABC’s Orlando, Fla., affiliate, WFTV.

Romney said that Obama is simply deflecting responsibility when it comes to gas prices.

“The president is looking around for someone to blame,” said Romney. “You know, it’s, it seems to be part of his nature. He’s out of ideas, he’s out of excuses, and in 2012 we’re going to get him out of office. That’s got to get done.”

“But he said something, I think it was yesterday, he said the reason we have high gasoline prices is – and then he was seeking around. What could it be? What could it be?” said Romney. “Now I have some suggestions for him. Maybe it’s related to the fact that you stopped drilling in the Gulf. Maybe it’s related to the fact, Mr. President that you weren’t out drilling in ANWR. Maybe it’s related to the fact that you said we couldn’t get a pipeline in from Canada known as Keystone. Those things affect gasoline prices, long term.”

The president made the comment warning against “loose talk” of war before a meeting of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group. During a press conference two days later, as Republicans in 10 states were voting in their primaries, he was asked about the need for debate on tension between Israel, the U.S. and Iran.

“Well, I think there’s no doubt that those who are suggesting, or proposing, or beating the drums of war should explain clearly to the American people what they think the costs and benefits would be,” Obama said during that March 6th press conference.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep222011

House Republicans Look to End Solyndra Loan Program

Ken James/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an attempt to win support from the 48 House Republicans who voted against the stalled stopgap funding bill Wednesday night, the House Republican leadership is considering slashing the remaining $100 million from the loan program that granted a $535-million loan guarantee to the now-bankrupt Solyndra solar company.

GOP aides said the Department of Energy loan program cuts would help offset disaster relief funding. The House is expected to vote on the tweaked continuing resolution Thursday evening.

Earlier, at a House Oversight Committee hearing, the loan program was blasted by Republicans for failing to create the jobs President Obama claimed it would when he promoted the Recovery Act program in 2009.

The Republican committee members released a report during the hearing that claimed the $41.7 billion allocated to green initiatives as part of the 2009 Recovery Act “has done little to create jobs or speed recovery.”

“In fact,” the report noted, “by many accounts it has destroyed jobs. This is a dangerous strategy that will drastically increase the price consumers pay for energy, hurt economic growth and restrict job creation.

Democratic committee members fired back with their own report that detailed the number of people currently employed by the green jobs sector in each Republican member’s district along with the federal loans given to green industries within both their district and state as a whole.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep022011

Barney Frank Chastises GOP for Blocking CFPB Director Confirmation

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Barney Frank is more than miffed about Senate Republicans blocking the confirmation of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Board.

In a Friday Op-Ed the Massachusetts Democrat accused Republicans of “blatantly distorting the Constitution” because they have vowed to block any CFPB director nominee from being confirmed, regardless of the nominee’s merits.

“We’re going to see an extraordinarily qualified administrator of an important consumer protection agency be trashed by the Senate Republican minority because their primary goal is to ensure that financial institutions are not troubled by what they may see as an excessive concern for consumer fairness,” Frank wrote in the Washington Post op-ed.

“It is the legislative equivalent to an arsonist having set a fire and objecting to a building’s inhabitants using the fire exit,” he added.

The CFPB was created in response to the sub-prime mortgage crisis as a way to prevent unsound lending practices and avert another financial crisis. Frank was one of the authors of Dodd-Frank financial reform bill which created the CFPB.

Before the president named his nominee to lead the CFPB, 44 Senate Republicans sent a letter to Obama saying they will not confirm any nominee until the board’s structure is revamped.

Republicans have been staunchly opposed to the board and to many of the Dodd-Frank provisions. In the letter, they specified that they want to scrap the board’s director position altogether and instead diffuse power through a panel of directors. They also want any CFPB regulations to be approved by bank regulators before taking effect.

But the president has said he will veto any changes to Dodd-Frank or restructuring of the CFPB.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who signed the letter, told ABC News in July that Senate Republicans are “not going to budge and we shouldn’t.”

“We fought it last year. We’re going to continue to fight it,” Shelby said.

Frank wrote that the Republicans were waging a “war on financial regulation” and that Cordray’s confirmation was “collateral damage.”

“Senate Republicans are not entitled to use the confirmation power as a bludgeon to get their way when they cannot do so through the normal legislative process,” Frank wrote.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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