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Even though the last election cycle is long over, the country’s biggest political contributors — profiled in the Mother Jones 400 — are still making headlines.

 

WINNERS

  • Clinton nominated meatpacking heir James Hormel (#84; $186,200) as alternate representative to the United Nations (Hormel’s 1992 candidacy for Fiji’s ambassadorship flopped when his gay activism and the country’s sodomy laws didn’t mix).
  • Felix Rohatyn (#4; $471,250) was nominated as ambassador to France, beating out Mary Raiser (#270; $108,000), the White House chief of protocol.
  • Walter Shorenstein (#11; $334,350) and love interest Tippi Hedren shared an April dinner with Hillary Clinton in New York.

SINNERS

  • Matt Fong, California’s state treasurer, returned a possibly illegal $100,000 donation that Jessica Elnitiarta (#329; $100,000) and her father, Ted Sioeng, gave to Fong’s campaign.

    For more on Elnitiarta’s returned contribution, see “Beijing 90210“.

  • Protesting the “total corruption” of political fundraising in the U.S., the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee dissolved. Thirteen MoJo 400 luminaries had given the group nearly $50,000.

SPINNER

  • Lillian Vernon’s (#197; $124,060) son and publicist, David Hochberg, called Mother Jones to say how happy they were with the issue, adding, “If there’s anything else we can help you with, let us know.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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