Young Jewish billionaire pledges $35m to thwart Trump
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Young Jewish billionaire pledges $35m to thwart Trump

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz calls GOP nominee’s promises ‘a deliberate con’ as he joins ranks of major political donors

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz says he is giving $35 million to help defeat Donald Trump (Eric Risberg/AP)
Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz says he is giving $35 million to help defeat Donald Trump (Eric Risberg/AP)

WASHINGTON — A new face has emerged within the echelons of the Democratic Party’s top political contributors. He’s a young Jewish co-founder of Facebook, and he’s pledged to shake up the 2016 presidential race with two rounds of massive campaign donations, according to Politico.

Dustin Moskovitz, 32, says he will put up $35 million to stop Republican nominee Donald Trump from reaching the White House, and is calling the candidate’s election promises “a deliberate con, an attempt to rally energy and support without the ability or intention to deliver.”

While the Gainesville, Florida native has expressed deep discomfort with the influence of money in politics, he and his wife, Cari Tuna, justify their injecting immense sums of cash into the race by citing the unique nature of Trump’s candidacy.

“His proposals are so implausible that the nation is forced to worry that his interest in the presidency might not even extend beyond winning a contest and promoting his personal brand,” he wrote in a blog post on Medium.

And so he has taken to spending massively, via numerous channels, to help elect Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

On September 9, Moskovitz said he would commit $20 million to stop a potential Trump presidency. He outlined his plan to donate to a number of political action committees, including super PACs, as well as organizations working to register voters and provide transportation to polling stations.

He had already given the maximum individual campaign donation — $2,700 — on August 24, according to his individual contributions sheet released by the Federal Election Commission.

Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Donald Trump while attending the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on October 20, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Donald Trump while attending the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on October 20, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

But restrictions on giving only count for direct contributions to campaigns. Major donors are spending hundreds of millions of dollars through super PACs that support the candidates without coordinating directly with the candidates’ campaign. Super PACs can raise and spend on political advertising without limit.

On October 8, the entrepreneur, whose net worth Bloomberg has estimated at some $12.7 billion, posted another blog vowing to give an additional $15 million to an array of groups backing Clinton or supporting non-partisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts.

The latest election disclosures showed him fulfilling his pledge to give $5 million to two super PACs he believed would “make it a little more likely that Secretary Clinton is able to pursue the agenda she’s outlined.”

Those organizations include the union-backed For Our Future PAC and the environmental advocacy supporting League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Victory Fund.

Other groups who have been recipients of his political dollars, according to the FEC, include the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and a number of state Democratic Party organizations.

Several of the groups he pledged to support on Medium do not appear on his disclosure form, likely because they are not required to reveal donors.

It is also likely that his October 8 promise to give $5 million to Priorities USA Action, the largest super PAC supporting Clinton’s bid, came after the last filing deadline. The most recent quarterly report was due October 15, and the monthly report for September was due October 20. Reports of individual donations in October are not yet public.

Jewish donors have already waded heavily into the race, making up Clinton’s five biggest individual donors and Trump’s top two, and together funneling more than $90 million into this year’s contest.

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