Clooney: Look, These Expensive Fundraisers Are Necessary Because of Citizens United And The Koch Brothers

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Apr 18, 2016 8:15 PM
Clooney: Look, These Expensive Fundraisers Are Necessary Because of Citizens United And The Koch Brothers

As Christine mentioned earlier today, Hollywood star George Clooney knows he’s raking in a lot of cash for Hillary Clinton. The two fundraisers he’s attended cost over $33,000 a ticket, and the price for sitting with Clinton and the Clooneys is a very affordable* $353,400. But remember, these are the people who truly know what Middle America is going through during this time of economic torpor. Clooney admitted that the amounts being asked for during these fundraisers are ludicrous, and agrees with Sanders and his supporters that they have a right to protest that aspect. Indeed, Sanders' cohorts were at one of the venues, where they threw one dollar bills at Clinton's motorcade. Yet, during his interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" Sunday, Clooney also said that these lavish fundraisers are necessary because of the Koch brothers and Citizens United (via Newsbusters):

CHUCK TODD: Let me start with dinner -- you co-hosted on Friday night. Big fund-raiser I know that you have planned for later tonight. Do you look at -- at how much is being raised and I think the cost of the Friday night dinner, $353,000 a couple, to be a co-chair. Do you look at it and think that's an obscene amount of money?

CLOONEY: Yes. I think it's an obscene amount of money. I think that you know we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco. And they're right to protest. They're absolutely right. It is an obscene amount of money. The Sanders campaign when they talk about it is absolutely right. It's ridiculous that we should have this money in politics I agree completely.

TODD: You know, it’s interesting. Our camera caught you having a conversation with the protesters last night. What did you say to them?

CLOONEY: Well, it was a funny thing. I tried to talk to them and he said I was some corporate shill which, you know me, that's one of the funnier things you would say about me. And then he just said ‘you sucked at Batman,” and I like, “you kind of got me on that one.” Then I walked away. That was -- that was basically it.

But, you know -- I think what's important -- what I think the Clinton campaign has not been very good at explaining is this. This is the truth. The overwhelming amount of money that we're raising and it is a lot, but the overwhelming amount of the money that we're raising is not going to Hillary to run for president. It's going to the down ticket. Going to the congressmen and senators to try to take back congress.

The reason that's important and the reason it's important to me is because we need -- I'm a Democrat, so if you’re a Republican you’re going to disagree. But we need to take the senate back because we need to confirm a Supreme Court justice, because that fifth vote on the Supreme Court can overturn citizens united and get this obscene, ridiculous amount of money out so I never have to do a fundraiser again. That's while doing it.

TODD: So you don't enjoy doing these fundraisers?

CLOONEY: No, I don't anybody does. I don't even think politicians do. You know, I'm sure you have covered them before. It's not the most— It’s not the most fun thing to do. I spend probably a quarter of my time now raising millions and millions of dollars to fund my foundation which is basically chasing and looking for money that these corrupt politicians all around the world are hiding. The Panama papers have been actually incredibly helpful. We have forensic accountants. So, this is all a very big part of things that are important to me. I really want Citizens United-- I think it's the worst -- one of the worst laws passed since I have been around.

[...]

TODD: Do you think people that are coming to your event, tonight and went last night, that they -- that they think they will get extra access to a president Clinton? To a President Clinton?

CLOONEY: No. I actually don't think that's true. I think there is a difference between the Koch brothers and us. You know? The difference is, if I succeed -- if we succeed in electing an entire congress, which would be quite a success, but a senate and a president. You know, the tax policies that they would enact would probably cost us a lot more money quite honestly.

The Koch brothers would profit if they get their way and that's what -- you know, we have -- there's no profit for us in this. You know, understanding this. The Koch brothers have said they're going to spend $900 million not on the presidency. But on the down ticket. On the senators, the congressmen, and the gubernatorial race and the local races, and so our job is to try and counter that in some way.

Well, first, Citizens United isn’t a law; it’s a non-profit organization. They sued the Federal Election Commission over the dissemination of their documentary, Hillary: The Movie–specifically the distribution of it on DirectTV. Liberals saw the anti-Hillary documentary as nothing more than a 90-minute campaign ad, which meant it would come under the telecommunications guidelines of the McCain-Feingold Act. Here is what the Supreme Court ruled on January 10, 2010 (via SCOTUSBlog):

Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections. While corporations or unions may not give money directly to campaigns, they may seek to persuade the voting public through other means, including ads, especially where these ads were not broadcast.

I know…the horror! The horror! First, to channel the inimitable George Will, one could argue that there isn’t enough money in politics. The last presidential election saw total political expenditures exceed no more than $2 billion. That’s all? Americans, businesses, the rich, the poor, the middle class etc. only doled out $2 billion in an election that decides who will lead the free world, with the multi-trillion dollar economy and presiding over a $3.5 trillion budget? That seems a bit low. In fact it is, as Mr. Will often reminds us that Americans spend more on yogurt than they do on the people who decide how much money they will have left in their paychecks to buy such items at the grocery store. Second, yes, corporations and businesses have First Amendment rights. It’s about time liberals conceded that fact.