The far-right billionaires that helped launch Carl DeMaio
We already know that Carl DeMaio isn't shy about his belief that he 'owes' his campaign supporters, and we know that some of his biggest supporters are rich developers, local contractors, the new UT owner Doug Manchester and, of course, DeMaio's own personal fortune. But he had plenty of help along the road to making his millions and installing himself in San Diego and using his personal fortune to fund his political career.
Carl DeMaio got his first break from Newt Gingrich, but what really launched his career was the gig he landed at the far-right Reason Foundation in 1999. It started a relationship that provided DeMaio the platform and resources to hone a number of his earliest anti-government rhetoric, and where he honed the art of slick reports without results -- thanks to generous funding by some of the richest insider elites of the far right:
The Koch Family empire has provided more than $2 million to Reason through various foundations. It's led by billionaire brothers that have dumped untold millions into discrediting global warming, protecting subsidies for fossil fuel industries, opposing worker rights and environmental protections, and playing in electoral politics.
The Scaife Family has spent hundreds of millions over the last several decades bankrolling a wide range of far-right think tanks, including more than two million dollars for Reason. Other favorite projects include funneling millions towards investigations of President Clinton in the 90s -- right in line with DeMaio's original patron, Newt Gingrich.
The Bradley Foundation isn't as notorious, but it's provided about a million dollars for Reason. And below the radar it's been pouring money into the operations of the extreme right's attack on working families -- to the tune of $350 million just in the last decade. That money's gone towards efforts to privatize social security, attack collective bargaining, destroy campaign finance regulations and more.
These and other super-rich conservatives have made sure that the national effort to buy political influence with hundreds of millions of dollars included the Reason Foundation and its staffers like Carl DeMaio. So DeMaio learned early on the strategy of dumping personal fortunes into politics to improve the odds of winning.
He didn't just study it -- his early career was as one of the foot soldiers in the effort by leading far-right billionaires to buy the policies they want. They bankrolled DeMaio as he established his own mini-empire in DC, making himself millions from outsourcing government jobs, and now he's in San Diego with his personal fortune looking to use the same model.
And he's definitely putting his personal fortune to work. Advance reports of new fundraising numbers last week show that he's already funnelled $355,000 of his own money into his mayoral campaign so far -- more than one third of his total take. That's a lot of self-funding from a career insider to keep up the pace. But it's exactly the model that launched his career to begin with.