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Who is really financing Herschel Walker's campaign?
On Friday, Nathalie Jacoby tweeted that Home Depot had donated $1.75 million to the Georgia U.S. Senate campaign of Herschel Walker (R). Jacoby, a self-described "Democrat" who offers advice on how to grow Twitter accounts for $9.99 a month, was incorrect. Nevertheless, her tweet was the catalyst for calls to #boycotthomedepot to trend on Twitter.
What is the truth? Bernie Marcus, the founder of Home Depot, donated $1.75 million to 34N22, a Super PAC dedicated to electing Walker to the Senate. But Marcus no longer works for the company. And Home Depot itself has not donated to 34N22.
The identity of major financial backers of Walker's campaign has become a topic of interest since The Daily Beast reported that Walker paid for a woman to obtain an abortion. The Daily Beast obtained the receipt for the abortion, a get-well card Walker sent to the woman, and a canceled check the woman says Walker included in the card to reimburse her for the procedure. All these details were subsequently confirmed by the New York Times, which also reported that Walker unsuccessfully tried to convince the woman to have a second abortion. Instead, she is the mother of one of Walker's four children.
On the campaign trail, Walker has advocated for a total abortion ban with no exceptions.
At first, Walker said that the entire story was a lie and he would file a defamation suit against the Daily Beast within 24 hours. Now Walker has acknowledged that his accused is the mother of one of his children, that she may have had an abortion, and that he may have sent her money and a get-well card. Almost a week after the initial story was published, no defamation suit has been filed. Another one of Walker's children, Christian, is adamant that his father is lying.
Home Depot was eager to distance itself from Walker. The company told TMZ that its PAC has not donated to Walker's campaign. The company has also sent over 70 tweets like this, suggesting that it was not supporting Walker.
But Home Depot's public relations counteroffensive is also extremely misleading. Home Depot has also made significant contributions to PACs spending millions of dollars to elect Walker.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is one of the primary supporters of Walker's campaign. The NRSC recently announced it had purchased $8.5 million in "coordinated" ads with Walker campaign. This adds to millions in spending the NRSC has made in support of Walker on TV and online. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), the chairman of the NRSC, will appear at a rally with Walker on Tuesday.
The Home Depot PAC has donated $90,000 to the NRSC, making it one of the NRSC's largest corporate contributors. The Home Depot PAC has also donated $10,000 to the Bluegrass Committee, the leadership PAC of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), which is also financially supporting Walker's campaign.
Both Bernie Marcus and Home Depot are supporting Walker — the only difference is that Marcus is spending more.
Walker's largest supporters
The biggest spender in support of Walker is not the NRSC, 34N22, or even Walker's campaign itself. It is the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), the Super PAC controlled by McConnell. Walker's campaign, in total, has raised about $20 million. The SLF has already booked $37.1 million in TV ads in support of Walker. This doesn't count the millions more that SLF has spent online.
So if you want to know the biggest supporters of Walker, you need to look at some of the biggest donors to SLF:
$10,000,000: Private equity billionaire Stephen A. Schwarzman, a longtime friend and advisor to Trump. Schwarzman once compared Obama's effort to eliminate tax loopholes for private equity managers to Hilter's invasion of Poland.
$10,000,000: Kenneth Griffin, the billionaire CEO of Citadel, a hedge fund. In a 2012 interview, Griffin said that the "ultrawealthy" did not have enough influence on politics.
$4,000,000: Occidental Petroleum, a Fortune 500 fossil fuel company and one of the world's largest producers of greenhouse gases.
$3,000,000: Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer. He is known for his fierce opposition to raising taxes on billionaires and other very wealthy individuals. “Resentment is not morally superior to earning money,” Singer wrote.
$2,000,000: Bernie Marcus, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, one of Trump's largest donors. Bernard stopped working at Home Depot in 2002.
$2,000,000: Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire chairman of Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox News.
$1,500,000: Chevron Corporation, the second largest fossil fuel corporation in the United States. The second-largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in history.
$1,000,000: Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by right-wing billionaire Charles Koch. In 2020, Koch said he "screw[ed] up" by supporting Tea Party Republicans and vowed to be a "uniter" in the future.
$1,000,000: American Petroleum Institute, a lobbying group representing the fossil fuel industry.
$500,000: Anschutz Corporation, the parent company of Coachella and other popular music festivals and concerts. These funds came directly from the Anschutz Corporation's corporate treasury and not an employee-funded PAC.
$500,000: Philip Anschutz, the CEO of the Anschutz Corporation and a prolific donor to right-wing political causes.
The largest donor to the SLF, however, is One Nation, a non-profit run by the leadership of SLF. Thus far, One Nation has donated $33.5 million to the SLF. (One Nation has also run millions in TV and online ads supporting Walker itself.) But donors to One Nation are kept secret. That means many of the largest supporters of the SLF — and, therefore, the Walker campaign — are unknown.