2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich sided with well-known Democrats in saying that the influence of rich Americans and the billion dollar election cycle is threatening to the future of American elections.
“I think it’s very frightening. I don’t think the Founding Fathers intended for the U.S. to be an oligarchy,” Gingrich said during a podcast with Politico.
“You begin to have billionaires who get together, who think that they have somehow got the divine right to tell the country what the country ought to be, which is, I think, dangerous," he added.
Many wealthy contributors have vowed to spend millions of dollars on the 2016 presidential election, close House elections, and crucial Senate races. Charles and David Koch, longtime donors of the Republican Party, have pledged up to $900 million to spend on Republican candidates during next year’s elections, Newsmax noted. Other wealthy investors include Democratic donors George Soros, the AFL-CIO union organization and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
While Gingrich was quick to criticize Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s Super PAC for raising millions of dollars to spend on his behalf, Gingrich also accepted large donations during his campaign. Politico noted that the Gingrich camp accepted $20 million in donations from conservative donor Sheldon Addison four years ago.
“I think it’s dangerous to have the party and the candidates shrink and independent oligarchs rise,” Gingrich said. “I just think it’s a very dangerous pattern.”
“I don’t quite know how you legally do that, frankly,” Gingrich said, referring to Bush’s Super PAC. “I mean, it strikes me that it’s, you know, stretching the game.”
Gingrich’s comments are similar to that of Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who used the term “oligarch” when speaking of money in politics last week.
Sanders is seen as the more liberal counterpart to Democratic frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who Gingrich also criticized during the podcast.
“She runs a bad campaign and she’s a bad candidate,” Gingrich said.
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