Since the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC in 2010, the funding behind politicians has gotten murkier and murkier. Politicians began accepting donations not only through their official campaign funds, but also to political action committees (known as PACs).
Before this, all campaign donations were directly traceable to their donor. The Citizens United ruling allowed people to obscure their political donations. It also removed the barrier to corporations donating to politicians and political causes.
Now it is par for the course that candidates for nation-wide office are attached to a “leadership PAC”. These PACs are not subject to donation limits. In a bombshell announcement today, we learned that Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) leadership PAC received $1,000,000 from a Russian billionaire connected to Vladimir Putin.
.@MarcoRubio-Can you please explain this $1,000,000 contribution to your super PAC from a Russian billionaire who made billions off Russian oil? How many meetings did you have before you got this million dollar check? What did you offer in return? Floridians deserve answers. pic.twitter.com/BElSPIYFb0
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) March 25, 2018
Unsurprisingly, Rubio was not alone:
Just Think who you see on TV the MOST from the @GOP?
— Deranged Donald (@MoMan60) March 26, 2018
Despite Trump (and the GOP) projecting their guilt onto Democrats like this:
I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it. https://t.co/qCDljfF3wN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2017
… this new Russia/GOP connection is damning. Lest you think that this is selectively presented information that’s omitting all of the Democrats that Blavatnik donated to, consider the hard facts.
Access Industries is the U.S. company that Blavatnik uses to donate to American politicians. Sourced from public record, here’s the history of Access Industries’ political contributions:
What could possibly account for this incredible increase in donations?
In 2014, Access Industries sold an oil and gas company to Rosneft, the Russian state oil company. Blavatnik received $7,000,000,000 in profits from the sale.
This sale was a big deal. According to Reuters:
‘It tightens the [Russian] government’s grip on the energy sector and is a victory for Rosneft chief Igor Sechin, a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, creating a business with annual production of about 4.6 million barrels of oil equivalent, more than Exxon Mobil, the world’s No.1 investor-owned company.’
So it comes down to this: money from a Russian oligarch (which came from the Russian purchase of an energy company) went straight into the campaign coffers of Marco Rubio.
And we’ve got the receipts.
Featured image: Joe Raedle/Getty