The saying ‘Money makes the world go ’round’ is certainly true, especially in politics. With each party claiming to be the party of the middle class or working person, their small donations do add up to significant contributions, but it also true that significant contributions from the wealthy and well-connected provide greater influence in a candidate’s decision making related to policy. If a candidate receives $10,000, $25,000 or $250,000 from a single person or entity, their donation stands out, as does the donor. The donor receives special invites, acknowledgments, and, of course, special attention related to policy.
Poring over the financials from Steve Sisolak’s re-election campaign and the financials from his PAC, Home Means Nevada, the largest contributors to his re-election campaign are from the usual suspects: billionaires, millionaires, casino owners, land developers, hotel developers, home builders, unions, mining companies, and lawyers. The contributions as reported in January and March 2021 and covering the final quarter of last year, total approximately $5-6 million.
In this era of the pandemic, lockdowns and vaccine mandates have done a number on state revenues, due to revenues and employment lost on the Las Vegas Strip. Of note, The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association (PHRMA) was the second largest donor behind Nevada Gold Mining. The donation of $250,000 is half of the $500,000 given by Nevada Gold Mining. Pharmaceutical companies Mallinckrodt LLC and Bristol Meyers Squibb gave $5,000, and pharmaceutical executives were also significant donors. ($1,000 or more).
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety gave $25,000.
North Dakota’s first billionaire and hotel developer, Gary Tharaldson, and Jiffy Lube franchisee out of Newport Beach, CA, Anthony Fanticola, each gave $10,000. A luxury home builder out of Beverly Hills, Peter McCoy, donated $5,000.
This preview into Sisolak’s finances as he campaigns for a second term as governor will of course serve as a proxy for the perceived strength of his support. With Nevada’s laws not mandating disclosure until March 2022, that support remains something of a mystery.
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