Political donations from people at hedge funds have vaulted this election, and far more has gone to the Democratic nominee than to the Republican

By John Carney and Anupreeta Das, Wall Street Journal

Hedge funds are playing a far bigger role in 2016 than in past elections—and Hillary Clinton has been the single biggest beneficiary.

Owners and employees of hedge funds have made $122.7 million in campaign contributions this election cycle, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics—more than twice what they gave in the entire 2012 cycle and nearly 14% of total money donated from all sources so far.

The lines around what constitutes a hedge fund aren’t always clear in the data, or in the financial industry. But the numbers are stark. The top five contributors to pro-Clinton groups are employees or owners of private investment funds, according to federal data released last week and compiled by OpenSecrets.org, the center’s website. The data show seven financial firms alone have generated nearly $48.5 million for groups working on Mrs. Clinton’s behalf.

The total for Donald Trump : About $19,000.

Mr. Trump, of course, didn’t start actively soliciting campaign contributions until recently and even shunned outside political groups working on his behalf. Hedge-fund employees have contributed heavily to other Republican groups this cycle—$65.8 million so far—mainly in support of candidates who opposed Mr. Trump in the primaries. Some who had supported other Republican candidates are now beginning to give to pro-Trump groups.

Still, Mrs. Clinton’s big haul from hedge funds also reflects the topsy-turvy politics of this election. In the 2008 campaign, hedge funds contributed just $14 million to Democratic candidates and groups. And amid criticism that Mrs. Clinton has cultivated close ties with the finance industry, her campaign has emphasized her plan to confront Wall Street.

Hillary Clinton outlined her goals as a presidential candidate — from overturning Citizens United to protecting Main Street — and shared some of her key beliefs. “If you share these beliefs, this is your campaign,” she said.

“Hillary Clinton has the toughest plan to reform Wall Street, clean up the abuses…and close the carried-interest [tax] loophole that benefits hedge funds,” a campaign spokesman said.

That said, to many on Wall Street, the Democrat in this election is the safer bet.

“There are two reasons I’ve given more than ever before,” said J.B. Pritzker, managing partner of private investment firm Pritzker Group, who has donated $7.9 million to Clinton-friendly groups and helped raised funds for her campaign. “First, I think she ought to be president. Second, I want to defeat Donald Trump. I believe that he would be terrible for the country.”


Continue reading, WallStreetJournal.com

The first president couldn’t tell a lie, the newly minted Democratic nominee can’t tell the truth

by Edmund Kozak

Hillary Clinton accepted her nomination as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president Thursday night. True to form, her speech was riddled with mistruths, equivocations, and lies. Assembled below are some of Clinton’s most veracity-challenged statements.

“That conversation [Bill and I] started in the law library 45 years ago is still going strong.”
The notion that Bill and Hillary Clinton share anything remotely resembling a healthy, loving relationship is absurd. Bill Clinton’s career has been swamped by sexual scandal, from a high-profile affair while in office with intern Monica Lewinsky, to numerous rumored dalliances, to allegations of rape and sexual assault. The only thing that’s been going strong for 45 years is Bill Clinton’s sex drive.

“America is stronger because of President Obama’s leadership” and “our economy is so much stronger than when [Obama] took office.”
It’s difficult to discern by what reasoning Clinton reached her conclusion. Under President Obama, more Americans have left the workforce than ever before, race relations are the worst they’ve been in decades, and America’s global clout has diminished. The military now appears to prioritize addressing transgender rights over adequately training troops, ISIS threatens the world — largely thanks to Obama’s desire to arm “friendly” anti-Assad rebels — and a shocking rise in violence is gripping major cities across the country.

To Bernie Sanders supporters: “Your cause is our cause.”
The idea that Hillary Clinton shares the same priorities as Bernie Sanders and his supporters is laughable. Clinton’s record has been generally pro-monilithic free-trade agreements and favorable toward Wall Street, which has doled out vast sums of money to hear her speak and to her campaign. Clinton is also a foreign policy hawk, and is generally favorable toward the idea of flexing U.S. military might — something anathema to the Sanders crowd.

Continue reading, Lifezette.com

Hillary’s acceptance speech marks the death of the moderate Democrat

by Brendan Kirby

When Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination for president Thursday, she made clear just how little the party of President Obama looks like the party that nominated her husband.

The Democratic Party of Obama is a far cry from the New Democrats Bill Clinton led out of the wilderness in 1992. Obama has not just spent almost eight years transforming America — he also has thoroughly remade his party into a vessel of liberalism not seen since the George McGovern days in the 1970s.

Gone are most of the conservative Southern Democrats and moderate Blue Dog Democrats that made up a significant chunk of the party in the 1990s and even into the first decade of the 21st century.

There is almost no Arkansas politics left in the Democratic Party at all — it has been wholly subsumed by Chicago.

Most of Hillary Clinton’s speech, which ran nearly an hour, was markedly devoid of substance. But behind the platitudes and clichés, the former secretary of state made clear to the delegates in Philadelphia and the country that she intends to continue Obama’s leftward lurch. She specifically addressed her socialist former rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the party’s ultra-liberal platform.

“We wrote it together; let’s go make it happen together,” she said.

Clinton’s speech took a harsh tone against the wealthy and big business. She pledged support for the idea that “the minimum wage should be a living wage,” promised to expand Social Security, and blasted executive bonuses.

“It’s wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other,” she said. “And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.”

But Clinton suggested that she would pressure banks to approve more loans.

“Way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks,” she said.

Channeling her inner Sanders, she said she would work to make college tuition-free for the middle class, debt-free for all, and “liberate millions of people who already have student debt.”

She promised to “build a path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants.

“I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to try to kick them out,” she said.

And, in an acknowledgment that the Democratic Party’s obsession with identity politics, she vowed to fight what she regards as America’s ingrained bigotry.

Continue reading, Lifezette.com

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – Bernie Sanders loyalists warned that the Democratic Party could rupture over the nomination of Hillary Clinton after a volatile night that saw a large group of Sanders delegates and supporters exit the party’s national convention to stage a sit-in at a nearby media tent.

They rejected Sanders’ call for unity even after the Vermont senator took the symbolic step of declaring Clinton the winner of the state-by-state delegate count inside the convention in Philadelphia.

“I suspect we are witnessing an event that will fundamentally change American politics,” said Cory James, 22, a college student from Flint, Michigan, who expects the Democratic Party to break apart over Clinton’s victory.

Thousands of activists have taken to the streets during the convention this week to voice support for Sanders, a liberal U.S. senator, and his progressive agenda. The “Bernie or bust” brigades that have marched across the sun-warped city threatened to disrupt Clinton’s moment as the first woman to be nominated for president by a major U.S. political party.

“We all have this unrealistic dream that democracy is alive in America,” said Debra Dilks, of Boonville, Missouri, who spoke as a protest broke up near Philadelphia’s City Hall.

She said she wasn’t sure she would even vote in November.

At the media tent protest, some had their mouths taped shut, while a few others spontaneously sang, “This land is our land.” They said they were holding a peaceful protest to complain about being shut out by the Democratic Party.

In the streets outside, Sanders supporters who had spent the day protesting began facing off with police. They started scaling 8-foot walls that blocked off the secure zone around the arena parking lot. Police and the Secret Service immediately arrested four protesters, who will be charged with entering a restricted area. They’re scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Protests continued into the night as Sanders supporters and an anti-police brutality group joined together. Later, another protester set an Israeli flag on fire as people chanted, “long live the intifada.”

Continue reading, Foxnews.com

By Liz Peek

More than 12 million Americans voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary contest. Over 2 million sent in money – at $27 a pop, on average – to finance his campaign. Millions more felt the Bern, turned out for his rallies and cheered on his promised revolution.

Little did all those folks know that the Vermont senator with the raspy voice and big ideas never had a chance. As Sanders often suggested, the Democratic National Committee decided that Hillary Clinton would be their party’s presidential nominee long before any votes were cast. It turns out the Democratic Party isn’t so democratic after all.

The DNC, headed by longtime Clinton ally Debbie Wasserman Schultz, created a debate schedule that guaranteed low viewership, was designed to stifle competition and made sure Hillary’s dominance in superdelegates would keep rivals at bay. There was so much bad blood late last year that Sanders sued the DNC after the party denied his campaign access to important voter data, a suit that was later dismissed.

From the start, the Clinton machine rolled right over Sanders like a steamroller.

And that, it turns out, was just the beginning. As we now know from leaked emails, Wasserman Schultz was actively conspiring with operatives in her organization to discredit Sanders, to spread stories questioning his religious beliefs and to throw obstacles in his path. “He isn’t going to be president,” Wasserman Schultz proclaimed in one email message. She didn’t need to add: “if I can help it.”

Why is anyone surprised? Wasserman Schultz was co-chair of Clinton’s failed campaign in 2008, but she undermined Clinton’s confidence by secretly reaching out and pledging her support to Barack Obama even before the primaries were finished. Long criticized as putting her career ahead of the party and for ethical lapses, like arguing that the DNC should pay for her wardrobe, Wasserman Schultz had to scramble to win back Clinton’s support and to squash critics who wanted her out of the prestigious post. Nothing could prove more effective than ruthlessly blocking Clinton’s potential rivals.

Continue reading, FoxNews.com

By Tom Hamburger and Karen Tumulty

As Hillary Clinton prepared to announce her 2016 running mate, a trove of nearly 20,000 emails were released by WikiLeaks on Friday, providing an embarrassing inside look at Democratic Party operations on the eve of the Democrats’ national convention.

The emails from the Democratic National Committee include discussions of Clinton’s chief rival for the presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.); details of perks provided to party donors attending the convention; and email exchanges between party officials, journalists and others.

The emails were released with an announcement by WikiLeaks on Twitter that linked readers to a WikiLeaks page inviting visitors to “Search the DNC email database.” A search box sits underneath a one-paragraph introduction:

“Today, Friday 22 July 2016 at 10:30am EDT, WikiLeaks releases 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from the top of the US Democratic National Committee — part one of our new Hillary Leaks series,” the introduction says. “The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC,” including Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer and others. The newly released emails cover the period from January 2015 through May 25, 2016.

Continue reading, WashingtonPost.com

by Amy Bushatz

Defense Department officials have incomplete information on how many military families are using food assistance programs because the department doesn’t completely track the data or work with other departments to do so, a new report from the Government Accountability Office finds.
While some data exist on how many service members use programs such as food stamps, known as SNAP, or the Women and Infant Children (WIC) program, which are both controlled by the Department of Agriculture, the Pentagon only loosely tracks the programs it administers, the report says. Additionally, no single office at the DoD is in charge of food assistance tracking, it says.
“The Department of Defense has some data on service members’ use of food assistance programs it administers, but it does not know the extent that service members use such programs,” the report summary says. “Also no office within DOD is monitoring food assistance needs, such as through survey data.”
Little to no information was found by auditors on service members’ use of the myriad of other food assistance programs such as local food banks and free and reduced lunches for children in non-DoD schools. That’s a problem military officials must tackle before they are able to accurately understand how hunger impacts troops and their families, the report says.
“Without more complete survey data, DoD will not understand the prevalence of need among service members to effectively target its support,” it says.
The report found that about 23,000 active-duty service members received food stamps in 2013, according to U.S. Census data. Information from the Department of Defense Education Activity showed that in September 2015, 24 percent of 23,000 children in U.S. DoDEA schools were eligible for free meals, while 21 percent were eligible for reduced-price meals.

Continue reading, Military.com

By Raquel Laneri

Ivanka Trump doesn’t need a $2,000 designer dress to make an impact.

The model entrepreneur introduced her father on the last night of the Republican Convention in Cleveland not in a high-fashion frock, but in a mass-market $158 dress from her own label, according to Women’s Wear Daily. It may not have been the chicest choice — the bold red outfit she sported earlier in the day made more of an impact — but it was a smart one.

Ivanka’s basic, not-entirely-fitted bandage dress speaks not of her style aptitude but of her business savvy, her smarts, her capability as an advisor to her father and also her wealth — she owns her own company. Yet it also makes her more relatable. Unlike Michelle Obama, designers like Narciso Rodriguez and Maria Cornejo aren’t throwing stuff her way.