How many 32-year-olds can raise ‘millions of dollars’ for a presidential campaign?

A friend sent me this clip and asked me how come a 32-year-old could raise millions of dollars in American politics? From the Times report on Rahm Emanuel:


Mr. Clinton, then the Arkansas governor, was a longshot candidate for the Democratic nomination in 1992. One of the first fulltime staff members hired in Little Rock, to raise money, was Mr. Emanuel, then 32.

Mr. Emanuel quickly increased Mr. Clinton’s credibility by building an impressive operation and raising millions of dollars.

I believe that the fact that Emanuel had served as a civilian volunteer for Israel during the ’91 Gulf War played a part in this supernatural ability. He was able to tell people that he stood with Israel.

And the importance of Jewish money to the Democratic Party– much of that money servile to a pro-Israel agenda– was also a factor. The Washington Post has said that over 50 percent of the money Democrats raise is from Jews.

Here is a recent and important piece on the late Stephen Solarz’s fears of losing his congressional district to redistricting in ’82, and how he raised pro-Israel money nationally to save it. Note that freshman Chuck Schumer, also 32, also feared losing his seat– and promptly accumulated the third-largest congressional warchest. Did you hear that: freshman Chuck Schumer, also 32, with 3d largest congressional bankroll:

When the figures from the ’80 census were tallied, New York was assigned to lose five House seats..

As a freshman from overrepresented Brooklyn, Schumer was an obvious target, and with his district abutting Solarz’s, it was only natural to merge the two. Thus, his victory in 1980 set off a political and financial arms race like New York had never seen. Solarz, who had taken to traveling the country and the globe through his Foreign Affairs work, used his influential post to cultivate elite national donors, with a particular emphasis on pro-Israel money.

In 1981 alone, he held fund-raisers in Cleveland, San Francisco, Detroit and Los Angeles, among other cities, raking in nearly $500,000—then a whopping sum for a House man..

But Schumer defied his freshman status and kept pace. After winning a spot on the Banking Committee, he set about making friends on Wall Street, tapping the city’s top law firms and securities houses for campaign donations. “I told them I looked like I had a very difficult reapportionment fight. If I were to stand a chance of being re-elected, I needed some help,” he would later tell the Associated Press.

By the spring of 1982, the largest bankroll in the entire House belonged to Solarz, with nearly $700,000. The third-largest belonged to Schumer, with nearly $500,000. The strength each man demonstrated was enough to scare party leaders in Brooklyn and Albany into keeping them apart in redistricting. When the new maps were finally drawn in June ’82, Democrats served up Jonathan Bingham (who declined to run against fellow incumbent Mario Biaggi in the newly configured 19th District) and the eccentric Frederick Richmond (thrown into a new majority-minority 11th District, where Major Owens ultimately won the seat) and left Leo Zeferetti to fend for himself (and lose) against Republican Guy Molinari. Schumer and Solarz were left alone, free to grow in the House for another decade if they wanted.

Today when you read the news that Obama was misled by Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak about the peace process– a mere 10 years after Barak had Bill Clinton on the phone all thru the 2000 peace process, when we were Israel’s lawyer, and Israel refused to divide Jerusalem, you simply have to reflect on the money power of the Israel lobby in American politics…

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 6 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Antidote says:

    Fundraising power

    Spiegel reported in 1967 that 200 Canadian Jews raised more than 8 million (figure given in German marks) within 90 minutes to support the 6 Day War

    link to spiegel.de

  2. N Y Times even does not touch the subject of how Emmanuel did it.

  3. Les says:

    How many millions of US donated weapons and equipment were used by Israel in Operation Cast Lead? None of which would have been possible without our buy-partisan Congress.

  4. Sin Nombre says:

    The staggering sums, so seemingly instantly coming in as if some coordinating agent was at work … it makes me wonder how come nobody seems to ever inquire into whether this is just laundered money from Israel?

    E.g. the U.S. gives Israel all kinds of dough; Israel funnels just a bit of same (or its other money since it’s all fungible) back to certain of its friends here in the U.S. who are U.S. citizens which still can mean tens of millions when it’s money spent on such important things for Israel, and … wham, Israel retains both Schumer and Solarz, or gets this result or that result, and etc. and so forth.

    Hardly a new idea for a gov’t to buy influence in another government. Israel’s trick would just be better because it would be using U.S. money to purchase its own influence.

  5. hophmi says:

    So you have a hunch. I see no evidence to back up what you say. There are plenty of younger professionals involved in American politics; people who run campaigns tend to be on the young side.