Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine bask in DNC spotlight. Photo by Chris Stone
Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine bask in DNC spotlight. Photo by Chris Stone

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine is scheduled to begin a two-day visit to the Los Angeles area Monday to headline fundraisers for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Tickets for Monday night’s “Latinos for Hillary Dinner with Tim Kaine” at the home of actress Eva Longoria begin at $10,000 per person, according to an invitation obtained by City News Service. Individuals paying $33,400 will have their picture taken with Kaine, D-Virginia.

The $33,400 figure is the maximum amount an individual can contribute to a national party committee per year.

Those paying $100,000 will be designated as event chairs and be admitted to a reception with other event chairs in addition to the dinner and having their picture taken with Kaine.

The dinner will be the second Clinton campaign fundraiser in the Los Angeles area with a $100,000 price tag in a seven-day span.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke at a $100,000 per couple dinner Tuesday at the Beverly Hills-area home of Barry Diller, the chairman and senior executive of the media and internet company IAC and the travel company Expedia Inc., and his fashion designer wife, Diane von Furstenberg.

Hillary Clinton had been scheduled to speak at the event, but plans for her to travel to California were canceled after she fell ill at a 9/11 ceremony in New York and it was announced she was suffering from walking pneumonia.

Democrats are not alone in having fundraisers in the Los Angeles area with ticket prices of  $100,000 (or more). Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump held a July 14 fundraiser in Bel Air that included tickets for $449,400 per couple, $250,000 per couple and $100,000 per couple.

A “Conversation with Tim Kaine” luncheon is set for Tuesday in the Beverly Hills area, hosted by Jay Sures, a managing director of the talent and literary agency UTA.

Ticket prices begin at $2,700, the maximum individual contribution to a presidential candidate in the general election under federal law. Individuals paying $10,000 will have their picture taken with Kaine.

Those donating $27,000 will be designated as co-hosts and be admitted to a co-host reception.

The trip will be Kaine’s second to the Los Angeles area since becoming the Democratic vice presidential nominee. He spoke at a fundraiser Aug. 20 with ticket prices of $1,000 and $10,000.

Political fundraisers with a $100,000 (or more) ticket price are the result of a series of court decisions “which have made it increasingly easy for candidates of both parties to raise larger and larger amounts of money — not necessarily for their own campaigns, but for their respective political parties and related activities,” said Dan Schnur, the director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

“When you get practical, it’s a distinction without a difference,” Schnur told City News Service. “Either way, the money gets spent for the same thing.”

Big-money political fundraising “essentially puts democracy for sale to the highest bidder,” Schnur said.

“One of the most important contributing forces to the decline in voting participation among young people is the immense amount of money that is given to campaigns by wealthy donors on both sides,” Schnur said.

“My students know that they get one vote. But they also understand that a CEO or a union head or a wealthy individual in either party gets hundreds of thousands if not millions of votes. It’s no wonder they’d rather clean up a park.”

Beginning in 1976, the major party presidential nominees received federal funds to finance their general election campaigns if they agreed not to raise money for their official campaign committee and abide by spending limits.

“Back in the ’70s the thought was if you offered a presidential candidate a significant amount of money from public coffers to refrain from doing his own fundraising, then he would,” Schnur said. “But as the fundraising opportunities got larger and larger, the incentive to rein in fundraising became less and less. Now general election candidates simply ignore the public funding option.”

In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama became the first major party nominee to decline federal funding, reflecting the belief — ultimately proven correct — that his campaign could raise more than it would receive from the federal government.

The major party nominees in both 2012 and 2016 declined federal funding.

In a June 22 speech, Hillary Clinton pledged to “fight hard to end the stranglehold that the wealthy and special interests have on so much of our government.”

Said Schnur : “For any president of either party to implement significant campaign finance reform would require an unprecedented amount of political courage.”

—City News Service

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