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Friday, June 28, 2024

Billionaire Grandson of Gilded Age Plutocrat Gives Trump Super PAC $50 Million

Big billionaire bucks shore up Trump

JAKE JOHNSON for Common Dreams

Dynasty of oligarachs
Billionaire businessman Timothy Mellon, the grandson of Gilded Age plutocrat Andrew Mellon, made a $50 million donation to a pro-Donald Trump super PAC last month, a day after the former president was convicted by a New York jury on 34 felony counts.

Mellon had previously donated $25 million to super PACs backing both Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent presidential candidate. 

The New York Times noted late Thursday that Mellon, a reclusive GOP megadonor who has described safety net programs as "slavery redux," is "now the first donor to give $100 million in disclosed federal contributions in this year's election."

"The grandson of Andrew Mellon peering out from behind a shrubbery to drop $50 million on an effort to defeat the strongest anti-monopolist element in government in decades is poetic," The American Prospect's David Dayen wrote in response to Mellon's donation, alluding in part to the Lina Khan-led Federal Trade Commission's bold efforts to fight corporate consolidation.

Matt Stoller, director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project, wrote in his book on monopoly power and American politics that Andrew Mellon used his corporate empire and appointment as U.S. treasury secretary "to fuse government and business to make the world safe for monopolists."

"Unlike other tycoons, he did not specialize in one area. At one point, five Fortune 500 companies owed their lineage directly to Mellon: Alcoa, Gulf Oil, Mellon Bank, Carborundum, and Koppers. He controlled a network of ninety-nine banks. He had interests in coal, steel, chemicals, oil, sleeping cars, railroads, building construction, utilities, magnesium, and airplanes," Stoller wrote. 

"Mellon even commandeered the use of an entire element of earth—aluminum—through his control of the monopoly aluminum producer Alcoa."

Timothy Mellon's donation to the Make America Great Again Inc. super PAC was the largest single campaign contribution this election cycle and accounted for most of the roughly $70 million that the pro-Trump outfit raised last month.

The Times reported that "within days of the contribution," the super PAC "said in a memo that it would begin reserving $100 million in advertising through Labor Day."

Mellon is one of at least a dozen billionaires supporting Trump's bid for another four years in the White House. The former president has solicited donations from fossil fuel executives and hedge fund investors, promising to deliver regulatory rollbacks and more tax cuts if he defeats President Joe Biden in November.

Trump has also actively courted casino billionaire Miriam Adelson—his biggest 2020 donor and a fervent supporter of Israel—with apparent success: Politico reported last month that Adelson is "planning to play a major role in funding Preserve America, a pro-Trump super PAC founded during the former president's 2020 reelection campaign."

"How much Adelson will donate to the super PAC is not clear, though the person familiar with her plans said the group was expecting to spend more than it did four years ago when Adelson and her late husband, Sheldon, donated $90 million to Preserve America," the outlet noted. "Their funds accounted for about 85% of what the organization raised in total."

Biden's campaign, meanwhile, has received roughly $20 million in donations from billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

The Washington Post reported Thursday that "the transfer of funds includes a $19 million check to FF PAC, an independent pro-Biden group also known as Future Forward, and a max-out donation of $929,600 to the Biden Victory Fund, an amalgamation of Biden campaign and Democratic Party committees."