While Bernie Sanders has pitched himself as the presidential candidate for the little guy — tapping into the billfolds of voters angry over Wall street influence in politics — a deeper dive presents Sanders has enlisted an arsenal of millionaire and billionaire backers who have backed his political career since his early Senate runs a decade ago.
That big-money supporting stands in sharp contrast to Sanders’ calls for corporate fat-cats and the uber-wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes by closing loopholes and removing breakings that benefit the mega-rich.
At a rally last Sunday at The Ohio State University, Sanders told a cheer mob, You can tell a great deal about a candidate based on how he or she raises fund for his or her campaign.
The comment runs hand-in-hand with the topic Sanders has been hammering for months.
I am not creating money from millionaires and billionaires, Sanders said during the CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas on Oct. 13. In fact, tonight, in terms of what a political revolution is about, there are 4,000 home parties 100,000 people in this country watching this debate tonight who want real change in this country.
Sanders war chest has been driven by smaller donations he created $26 million in small increments in the third fund-raising quarter.
Jeff Weaver, Sanders campaign manager, insists the fancy fundraisers and big-name donors are few and far between and that there is no contradiction in what the Vermont Democrat and self-described socialist the procedures and what he preaches.
We dont have a super PAC, Weaver told FoxNews.com. We rely on small contributions. Average contribution is $27. Are there some, a few people in there who have more fund, personal fund who give larger contributions? Yeah, of course they do, but within the federal $2700 restriction. No, you know , no 50, 100, two million contributions.
But for years Sanders has enjoyed gifts from a handful of wealthy donors including media moguls Leo J. Hindery and Steven C. Markoff.
Markoff, who donated to Sanders 2012 Senate campaign, began trading rare coins when he was 11. By 2004, his company -AMark Entertainment was listed as the 65 th largest privately operated company in the U.S ., and the second largest in Los Angeles.
Hindrey, managing partner of the private equity fund InterMedia Partners and former chief executive of AT& T Broadband and of the YES Network, also maxed out on contributions to Sanders. Hindrey, while advocating for fewer tax breaks for the wealthy, is among the biggest Democratic fundraisers in the country.
Another big money donor to Sanders campaign is David Geffen, co-founder of DreamWorks Animation and worth a cool $6.9 billion. According to campaign finance records, Geffen donated the max at the time — $ 2,500 — to Sanders Senate campaign on Jan. 27, 2012.
But Lara Brown, director of George Washington Universitys political management program, told FoxNews.com that she doesnt see a big push-back from Sanders supporters.
By and big, Democrat tend to believe these individuals are giving because they have a strong progressive/ liberal orientation in their politics and they are doing this because it equates to them devoting to a cause, she said, adding that the same would be true for big-money donors in Silicon Valley and the tech industry.
Viveca Novak, editorial and communications director at Center for Responsive Politics, agrees.
The vast majority of its own contribution in this election have come from smaller donors, Novak told FoxNews.com. Even some wealthy Democratic donors believe in changing the campaign finance system, and Sanders message has been pretty consistent on that issue.
However, if donations came in from Wall street moneymakers, Brown believes the reaction might be different.
The question is not whether he has taken donations from wealthy individuals, but instead whether he has received support from the very people he has attacked as being at the core of the corrupt campaign finance that monies Washington, she told. Hence, as with most scandals, the sin is judged most harshly when it involves hypocrisy.
Sanders, born in 1941, started out his political career as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont in the early 1980 s. He entered the national political arena in 1991 where reference is operated as an independent and won a seat in the House of Representatives. In 2007, he was elected to the Senate and then re-elected in 2012.
Fox News’ Lauren Blanchard contributed to this report.