A California billionaire helped fuel Hawley's political rise and has invested Kobach's political future. A deep dive on Peter Thiel's interest in Midwest politics with details on previously undisclosed spending for pro-Kobach group https://t.co/bDpi3gcGoO #ksleg #moleg
— Bryan Lowry (@BryanLowry3) September 29, 2019
I’d seen rumors on multiple sites that the Permanent GOP Party was ‘encouraging’, or at least hoping, Mike Pompeo to run for the Senate in Kansas. Suddenly, a powerful counterinterest emerges… just as Mike Pompeo finds himself under the spotlight in DC. Brian Lowry, at the Kansas City Star:
Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who believes Google should be investigated for treason and once wrote that American democracy has been in decline since women won the right to vote, is investing heavily in two of the Kansas City region’s most ambitious political startups.
Thiel steered six figures into a dark money group that backed Republican Kris Kobach’s failed campaign for Kansas governor, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
And now that Kobach is running for U.S. Senate, the PayPal co-founder is upfront about his financial support. Last week at his New York City apartment, Thiel and conservative pundit Ann Coulter co-hosted a fundraiser for the former Kansas secretary of state…
One of Thiel’s companies, the data mining firm Palantir, has provided software supporting ICE’s case management system since 2014. The company has faced criticism from immigration activists because of the software’s reported use in deportations.
Two sources familiar with the inner workings of Kobach’s 2018 campaign said Thiel gave a contribution worth six figures to Per Aspera Policy, a 501(c)4 organization that paid for digital and television ads.
Both of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Thiel’s previously undisclosed contributions to the dark money group occurred after Kobach and Thiel discussed the race on the phone. One source said Kobach was giddy when Thiel agreed to spend money in the race.
Kobach did not consent to an interview about his relationship with Thiel. His campaign declined to answer any questions, including about whether Thiel and Kobach had discussed the race for governor.
Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center, said at a minimum the situation “sounds like an illustration of the problems with dark money. Dark money is often only dark when it comes to the public’s knowledge—the candidates who benefit often know where the money is coming from.”…
It’s impossible to have any sympathy for Pompeo, who’s done his best to earn all the opprobrium now being aimed his way. Another interesting data point, however, that the other rightwing authoritarians see an opening to exploit in the flailing Trump 2020 campaign…