As Democrats gear up in an effort to retake Congress in the 2018 elections, many have decided to put forth a more moderate face, knowing they have to win in conservative states and districts. Meanwhile, extremely liberal donors still have a tremendous impact. The Houston, Texas, power couple of John and Laura Arnold deserves more attention in this light.
The Arnolds bankrolled an economist dubbed the “Modern Marx,” who advocated for an 80 percent tax rate and a global wealth registry. They have partnered with notorious Leftist donors George Soros, Tom Steyer, and Michael Bloomberg. Their influence in the Democratic Party is on the rise.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, former Enron trader John Arnold has made at least $2.5 million in federal campaign contributions to candidates, committees, and super PACs. His wife Laura has donated at least $900,000. The Arnolds have contributed to both parties, but overwhelmingly to Democrats.
In the 2018 cycle, the Laura & John Arnold Foundation has given $930,244, and 83 percent to Democrats and liberals. John Arnold bundled between $50,000 and $100,000 for Barack Obama in 2008. The couple were slated to host a $10,000-per-ticket Obama fundraiser featuring Michelle Obama in October 2011.
Both Laura and John Arnold donated $23,900 to the Democratic National Committee in 2008. Laura Arnold has donated more than $50,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
For the 2018 cycle, both Arnolds maxed out their contributions ($5,400) for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
Together, the Arnolds gave at least $410,000 to Common Sense Leadership for America, a Super PAC supporting Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.). They also gave at least $650,000 to Californians for Innovation, a Super PAC backing Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). John Arnold gave at least $100,000 to Georgians Together, a PAC backing Rep. Michelle Nunn (D-Ga.). Finally, the couple together donated at least $200,000 to the American Leadership PAC, a group dedicated to progressive women running for governor.
While Laura Arnold identifies as a Democrat, her husband John hilariously claims to be a libertarian. What kind of libertarian bankrolls a research paper written by the “Modern Marx”?
In December 2016, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation funded a research paper by French economist Thomas Piketty — dubbed the “Modern Marx” — and California economist Gabriel Zucman, who has advocated for a global register of financial assets and a worldwide tax on global profits.
By December 2016, the Leftist views of both economists had become widely publicized. Zucman’s book “Parking the Big Money” advocated a “radical reform of corporate taxation.” As Cass Sunstein noted in January 2016 in The New York Review of Books, Zucman proposed “an automatic, fully global register, so that every government in the world can know where money is kept,” and “a kind of tax on global profits, one that starts with the worldwide profits of firms, and then apportions them to each country.”
While Zucman’s suggestion of a global wealth database might be creepy, Piketty has gone further. The French economist proposed a progressive “global tax on wealth,” ranging from 0.1 percent to 10 percent. He also suggested an 80 percent tax rate on incomes above $500,000.
“Mr. Piketty’s focus on soaking the rich smacks of socialist ideology, not scholarship,” The Economist reported in May 2014. The paper dubbed the economist “A Modern Marx.”
In an interview with The New Republic, Piketty praised Marx’s most famous work, “The Communist Manifesto,” as “a short and strong piece.” Also in May 2014, James Pethokoukis, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, described Piketty’s magnum opus, “Capital in the 21st Century” as “a soft Marxism,” writing in National Review that “Piketty thinks the German progenitor of Communism basically got it right.”
As if funding these economists were not enough to demonstrate their Leftism, the Arnolds have partnered with George Soros, Tom Steyer, and Michael Bloomberg.
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation teamed up with Soros’s Open Society Foundations on multiple projects. Last November, they teamed up with Open Society in funding the Center for Public Integrity. In 2016, they joined Soros in funding the Brennan Center for Justice. The Arnold Foundation and Open Society Foundations backed Measures for Justice, a criminal justice reform group.
In 2016, John and Laura Arnold donated $3.3 million to support former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda tax in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif.
In 2015, Arnold joined Bill Gates, George Soros, and Tom Steyer to form the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to pressure the world’s richest countries to double their funding for energy research. The big donors announced their organization at the opening of the UN climate conference in Paris, France.
While John Arnold may not be as well known as George Soros or Tom Steyer, Mic listed him alongside Bloomberg, Gates, Soros, and Steyer as one of “The 10 Billionaires Who Influence Politics In America The Most.” Arnold ranked with Charles and David Koch, Sheldon Adelson, Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffett, and Penny Pritzker.
In 2012, Reuters‘s Kristen Hays reported that Arnold “turned giver” in “Soros mold.”
Democrats in 2018 may try to present a moderate image to the American voter, but the major donors behind their Leftist movement are no moderates. Arnold may claim to identify as a libertarian, but his record of giving suggests otherwise. No matter how much Democrats try to moderate, the impact of powerful donors such as Arnold, Bloomberg, Soros, and Steyer will drag them inexorably to the Left.