Senator Bob Casey (Pa.) criticizes his Republican challenger Dave McCormick as being funded by “right-wing billionaires.” But the Democrat has more than a few deep-pocketed liberals in his corner.
The progressive billionaire George Soros and his son Alex gave $6,600 apiece to Casey on Nov. 17, according to FEC records. Eric Schmidt and Reid Hoffman, the billionaire cofounders of Google and LinkedIn, respectively, gave $6,600 to Casey’s war chest last year. Billionaire business woman Lynda Resnick and Hollywood luminaries Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg have contributed $6,600 to Casey, the maximum donation allowed under federal law.
Ultra-wealthy donors have also poured tens of thousands of dollars into political action committees supporting Casey, who is seeking his third term in the Senate. Rockefeller family heiress Alida Rockefeller Messinger contributed $16,600 to Casey Keystone Victory PAC, according to campaign disclosures. Jay Pritzker, the billionaire governor of Illinois, contributed $21,600 to the PAC, and Schmidt, the Google cofounder, contributed $6,600 to it. Melinda French Gates, who is worth an estimated $10 billion, gave $5,000 to Keystone America PAC.
Casey’s support from rich donors could neutralize a line of attack the Democrat has used against McCormick, a former executive at the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. Casey criticized McCormick as “funded by a small group of billionaires.” Casey’s campaign asserted in fundraising emails that “right-wing billionaires” are funding McCormick’s campaign and that he has “no shortage of deep-pocketed friends waiting in the wings to fund his operation.”
Casey has rubbed shoulders with wealthy donors before while pushing a populist message on the campaign trail.
Last year, Casey attended a fundraiser with Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) at New York City’s Harvard Club, reserved for alumni of the Ivy League school, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Democratic megadonor Dennis Mehiel, who owns a superyacht, cohosted the fundraiser, and gave $3,800 to Casey’s campaign, records show.
Casey has criticized special interests and corporate influence in politics but raked in tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from lobbyists. Last year he said in a fundraising pitch that he was “standing up to corporate interests.” But numerous corporations and lobbyists have contributed to Casey’s campaign, according to campaign finance disclosures. According to the Washington Examiner, Casey received $60,000 in donations from lobbyists last year. His brother is a registered lobbyist at Dentons Global Advisors, a law firm that conducts “commercial diplomacy” on behalf of its clients.
Casey’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.