At the Republican Primary Debate for President last Wednesday evening, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie referred to presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy as “ChatGPT,” the artificial intelligence chatbot. The moniker struck a bell when the bellicose Ramaswamy with a too-perfect broadcaster voice and a too-perfect permanent smile showing off perfect sparkling teeth, bellowed out on the stage that climate change is “a hoax.”
We immediately headed to the Federal Election Commission (FEC.gov) website to see if Big Oil or its attached-at-the-hip Charles Koch network was behind this candidate. Ramaswamy wants to stroll into the highest office in the United States despite no prior public office experience. (Because that worked out so well for all of us the last time.)
Thus far, the big money trail has not led directly to Big Oil or the Koch network, but just give it time. Ramaswamy is espousing the key hot button issues that the big money Koch crowd demand in their candidates. Ramaswamy’s official website lists these goals for his administration: “Drill, frack & burn coal: abandon the climate cult & unshackle nuclear energy;” cut the headcount among U.S. regulators by 75 percent; relaunch the Reagan deregulatory revolution.
According to the Federal Election Commission, through June 30, Ramaswamy’s campaign coffers have taken in $19.16 million, of which $15.25 million came from Ramaswamy’s loans to the campaign and another $750,462 in his own contributions to his campaign. To put it another way, 84 percent of Ramaswamy’s campaign support has come out of his own pocket – despite his efforts to make it appear that he has broad support for his platform. In fact, when he stated on stage that climate change was a hoax, he was loudly booed by the Republican audience in attendance.
So how did Ramaswamy get those tens of thousands of individual donations to qualify him to appear on the debate stage? He spent $10.13 million of his own money to raise $3.16 million from other people in the first six months of this year….