Not too long ago, we wrote about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Whitney Williams’ massive fundraising efforts, and the fact that more than three quarters of her haul originates from big money donors outside of Montana.
Given the extreme disparity between Williams’ out-of-state donations compared to the other candidates, I decided to take a deeper dive into her campaign finances. The results were legitimately astounding.
All told, Williams’ C5 report stretches 92 pages in length, and it reads like a who’s who of American wealth and privilege. For every in-state donor, count four more from Hollywood, Silicon Valley, academia, and the Washington-New York political corridor.
Here are just some of the notables, keeping in mind that $710 is the maximum contribution amount allowed under Montana law:
- Ben Affleck, actor/director, Santa Monica, CA ($710 primary, $710 general)
- Larry David, Seinfeld co-creator, Los Angeles, CA ($200 primary)
- Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, Mountain View, CA ($710 primary, $710 general)
- Wendy Schmidt, Schmidt Family Foundation President, Palo Alto, CA ($710 primary, $710 general)
Two quick notes on the above:
- Wikileaks exposed a close relationship between Schmidt (while Google CEO) and the Clintons, beginning around Hillary’s failed presidential bid in 2008. Williams worked for Mrs. Clinton as the first lady’s Trips Director, and then later on her 2008 campaign.
- Whitney Williams obnoxiously took issue with Greg Gianforte for inviting Donald Trump, Jr. to a fundraiser:
According to Forbes, Eric Schmidt is the 33rd richest person in the world, with a net worth of more than $16 billion. Williams can bluster all she wants, in vile nativist fashion, about out-of-state influence in this election, but according to her, it’s perfectly OK for a Silicon Valley mega-billionaire like Schmidt — who is worth many times more than all of the Trumps combined — to directly influence who governs Montana, because, well, he supports Williams.
Beyond these headliners, seemingly every pillar of American wealth and privilege has donated to Williams.
Big Tech certainly has:
- Steven Slupski, security manager (Amazon), Kirkland, WA ($100 primary)
- David Zapolski, attorney (Amazon), Seattle, WA ($710 primary, $710 general)
- Thomas Reardon, scientist (Facebook), New York, NY ($710 primary)
- Dustin Knievel, lead talent partner (GitHub), Seattle, WA ($250 primary)
- Alexandra Eital, manager (Google), Los Angeles, CA ($710 primary, $290 general)
- Jacquelline Fuller, technology (Google), Orinda, CA ($710 primary, $710 general)
- Hector Mujica, program manager (Google), Oakland, CA ($50 primary)
- Ileana Ovale, technology (Google), San Diego, CA ($100 primary)
- Polly Zuber, marketing (Google), Santa Monica, CA ($125 primary)
- Thomas Clark, program manager (Microsoft), Seattle, WA ($250 primary)
- Adam Zukor, communications (Microsoft), Seattle, WA ($250 primary)
Williams’ filing goes on and on like this.
Scores of other donations come from other entertainment grandees, UC-Berkeley faculty members, “woke” capitalist execs (Nike), along with countless CEOs, attorneys, and elites from tony San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Washington, et al.
You can see it all for yourself here (spoiler alert: you won’t see a whole lot from “Joe Six Pack” working a 9-5 in Silver Bow County):WilliamsC5
Supporters of Williams will likely point to her experience and connections as a positive in all of this. They might even suggest that Williams (and only Wililams) could persuade a big fish to come to the Treasure State. The truth, however, is that her campaign finances just aren’t normal (and not in a good way). It all smacks of entitlement, and of an effort to solidify yet another political dynasty — one with, frankly, a relatively limited actual connection to Montana. (How much of her life has Williams spent in Montana? Was she even born here?)
Partisanship aside, and no matter what one might think about Mike Cooney or Greg Gianforte or anyone else, every candidate in this race but Williams has raised roughly 80% of their donations (if not more) from actual Montanans. Williams’ efforts to buy herself the governorship on the backs of wealthy coastal elites is next to unbelievable, and as far as I can tell, unprecedented in Montana political history.