No, not that closet — the partisan closet. Peter “Mr. Microphone” Hirschfeld:
Newly updated filings at the Federal Elections Commission show that Lisman… contributed $10,000 to the Vermont GOP on Jan. 6. That’s in addition to the $16,000 Lisman gave to the Vermont Republican Party between Aug. 13 of 2010 and Dec. 8 of 2011.
… There are no records of contributions from Lisman to the Vermont Democratic Party.
Ah yes, it turns out that Bruce Lisman, retired Wall Street panjandrum and member of a fincnail-sector fraternity that gets together once a year to dress in drag and share misogynist jokes and yuck it up about how great it is to be filthy rich, has been one of the VTGOP’s biggest individual donors — even as he heads up the “nonpartisan” Campaign for Vermont.
If you need a reminder of how rich ol’ Brucey is:
As for the donations in 2010 and 2011 – they arrived in three installments of $5,000 and one of $1,000 – Lisman said, “I don’t remember them.”
A few grand? Ha, that’s chump change for the likes of Lisman. But he insists that his personal contributions have no relationship whatsoever to the “nonpartisan” organization he personally bankrolls to the tune of over a million bucks.
“I hadn’t considered it that way,” he said.
(Cough.) And if you buy that, I’ve got some subprime derivatives to sell you.
In case you still need more proof of CFV’s partisan bent, here are some figures compiled by people I know with more time on their hands and more database experience than I, showing that the CFV “grassroots” lean heavily to the Republican side of the aisle.
CFV claims more than a thousand “partners.” That list includes 66 who were members of local Republican town committees between 2011 and 2013.
That may not seem terribly overwhelming, but look: only 2 were members of Democratic, Progressive, or Liberty Union town committees.
Do some quick math here: a CFV “partner” is 33 times more likely to be a Republican Party official than a Democratic Party official.
One other tidbit: 330 CFV “partners” took a Republican ballot in the 2012 Presidential primary. Compared to the entire electorate, CFV partners were three times more likely to have voted in that Republican primary.
Put it all together, you have an organization that is putatively nonpartisan but has a strong conservative lean. It’s headed (and entirely funded) by one of the leading individual donors to the Vermont Republican Party. And a man so wealthy that he “can’t remember” giving away $16,000 of his fortune.
To sum it up: In a talk entitled “Finding Skin” (which concerned the importance of “having skin in the game” — rather ironic from a guy who doesn’t expect people to give a goddamn penny to join CFV), Lisman echoed many of the tenets of the Wall Street/one percenter crowd, including the desirability of lower taxes for rich people and capital gains and the idea that economic growth should be the “first magnitude” priority for government. And he described the 2008 financial meltdown as it if were an act of God that could not have been prevented or foreseen by his fellow Masters of the Universe.
Lisman also parroted the “47%” shibboleth: he asserted that “more than 50% of potential taxpayers” don’t pay any taxes. Which is just flat-out bullshit: nearly 50% don’t pay federal income taxes, but they are not exempt from all the other taxes. But even if you accept his argument, what he’s saying is that the poor should pay more.
This speech is almost four years old, but it’s the only time I know of that Lisman has revealed his own political views in a public forum. I’d love it if someone asked him about that speech, which is still viewable online thanks to Burlington’s community access folks.
I think those questions are fair game for someone who’s spent a million bucks (and counting) in an effort to influence public policy in Vermont.