Donors Who Don't Even Give Money to Conservative Democrats Say They Really Won't This Time

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 28 2013 2:23 PM

Donors Who Don't Even Give Money to Conservative Democrats Say They Really Won't This Time  

Greg Sargent scoops that Kenneth Lerer and David Bohnett -- philanthropist/donors from New York and L.A., respectively -- will "withhold any and all future financial contributions from any Democrats who don’t support" extended background checks in a gun bill.

It shouldn't be too hard for them. In the 2012 cycle, Bohnett donated a total of $219,500, but none of it went to Democrats who might oppose a gun control bill. Among the recipients who are still in office: California Rep. Janice Hahn ($5000), Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin ($5000), California Sen. Dianne Feinstein ($2700) The only red stater who got the money was new Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who represents a blue-tinged swing seat. Lerer's portfolio is pretty similar; these weren't rich guys funding whatever Democrat the DSCC asked them to fund.

That's why the ask is so revealingly small.

“At some point you have to draw a line in the sand — for me that time is now,” Lerer told me in an interview. “If candidates or officeholders can’t support something like comprehensive and enforceable background checks, then I wouldn’t think of giving them any money going forward.”

Lerer and Bohnett aren't demanding that Democrats vote for the assault weapons ban as an amendment to a gun bill. They're demanding support for a bill that's already been watered down. That's an impressive amount of ideological realism!

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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