This week presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unveiled a plan to curb the political influence of the uber rich and one Minnesota billionaire is up in arms.
According to the Hill, the Democratic frontrunner is pushing tighter campaign finance disclosure laws, creating a federal matching program to encourage more donations from people who don’t have nine luxury cars, and overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which opened the floodgates for unlimited campaign spending.
“Our democracy should be about expanding the franchise, not charging an entrance fee,” Clinton said in a statement.
Some of the biggest pro-Clinton check writers told the Hill they were on board, even if it meant they had less sway. However, Stanley Hubbard — the St. Paul-based media mogul and Scott Walker supporter — says the former first lady is squatting over the First Amendment (our language).
“I think Hillary Clinton wants free speech for herself but nobody else,” Hubbard says, sounding slightly red faced. “I don’t care if you’ve got $10 to spend or $1 million to spend. In a country of free speech … we have a right to speak up and be heard. If Donald trump has billions of dollars he can go out and spend what he wants. Why should you or I not be able to spend the money we want to spend to promote our candidate or our thoughts?”
Of course the Hubbard Broadcasting honcho, who controls KSTP-TV and the local ESPN Radio affiliate, has more coin to throw at elections than most. In March, Forbes named Hubbard one of America’s wealthiest people, worth an estimated $2 billion. In the past year Hubbard gave around $246,000 to mostly Republican candidates and groups — more than half of which went to the Koch brothers’ super-PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Political wonks have predicted that the 2016 presidential election could cost up to $5 billion, more than double 2012’s record-setting race. But Hubbard, a certified rich guy and self-proclaimed free speech champion, says there’s no reason to be alarmed by the rising price of politics.
“It’s peanuts,” Hubbard says. “People spend more money on chewing gum than on politics. It’s a free country. You should be able to spend your money where you want to spend it.”
As for Clinton’s plan, Hubbard dismisses it as an attack against her political opponents. Hubbard says he’s all for free speech, using the term synonymously with political donations, regardless of where big spenders fall on the political spectrum.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, this is about politics,” Hubbard says. “This isn’t about Hillary Clinton worrying about free speech. This is about Hillary Clinton worrying about people who don’t like her saying things against her. That’s what it’s about. You’ll never hear her say the unions shouldn’t say what they believe.”
“Now you know how I feel.”