Election: Hedge Fund Donations vs. Yard Sales

So here is how these two men running for president are raising money in the Hamptons this fall.

Mitt Romney has been bringing in about $100 million every month. He expects to do it again this month. He gets this from the big corporations, who, according to the new rules approved by the Supreme Court, are now free to donate to non-profit organizations that wish to place advertisements or produce commercials for “the American Way,” or “Freedom in Government,” or some such, during which they may support one candidate or another in these efforts, wink, wink, so long as they do so independently of the Romney campaign itself. The largest donors in this are “Big Oil.” Many of the masters of the universe who head up these huge corporations have homes here.


As for Obama, here in the Hamptons, although he does have some big donors, they are not nearly as numerous as those for Romney, and so, instead, there are yard sales. A recent one on the front lawn of a house on Palmer Terrace got so many donations of household stuff that in the end it raised more than $8,000 in cash for the Obama campaign. There was another Yard Sale for Obama on Saturday, September 15 at a home on Alewive Brook Road near Cedar Point in East Hampton. To keep Obama in the race, if you believe in him, you brought your stuff!!

Meanwhile, there are rumblings in Quogue about the disparity in how campaign funds are raised. The business about big corporations being able to buy commercials is new just this year. It was not in the rulebook four years ago.

“…the Supreme Court is wrong in saying that corporations are people and dollars are speech,” Quogue resident Nancy Mullan told 27East, referring to how the Supreme Court ruled in the matter of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission earlier this summer. She said that a constitutional amendment should be passed by Congress and signed into law stating that corporations are not the same as American citizens and should not have the same rights. And she is rallying people together to propose that such an amendment be brought to the table.

Not long ago, Mullan held a first meeting at her home on this subject attended by nearly 50 likeminded people. Among them were Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr., and U.S. Representative Tim Bishop. That date was June 15, and if what they have in mind—a new Amendment to the Constitution—is successful, it will be a date to be remembered. It all would have started in Mullan’s home on June 15, the beginning of a grass roots movement that will overturn the new rules about spending on campaigns.

Getting this done will not be easy. She needed to petition the Town Board. She needs more people. Activists Michael Axelrad of Quogue and Patti Robinson of Westhampton Beach climbed onboard.

The first step was to petition the Town of Southampton to declare support for legislation in Albany that would ask both the State Assembly and Senate to pass a petition requiring the U.S. Congress to consider proposing a Constitutional Amendment that would make the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission decision by the Supreme Court null and void.

As one of her supporters, Axelrad, told 27East, “Historically, Congress has frequently overridden the Supreme Court.”

The proposal was presented on August 14 to the Southampton Town Board, which tabled it. The Board is scheduled to discuss the matter and vote at their next meeting on Tuesday, September 25.

The big push has begun. If it succeeds, perhaps this effort, begun in Mullan’s living room, should give itself a name. Call it “The Quogue Initiative.”

June 15, 2012, in the living room of the home of Quogue’s Nancy Mullan. A day to be remembered.

In the meantime, it’s yard sales.

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