On November 15, 2016, Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counselor to president-elect Donald Trump, was reported to the FBI and accused of felony violation of campaign finance laws. According to public FEC records, $950,090 was paid, in total, to Bannon’s production company, Glittering Steel LLC, over the course of the campaign (various payments occurring both before and after Bannon came on as campaign CEO) by the “Make America Number 1” super PAC. The most recent payment occurring on November 5. This is in violation of campaign finance laws as super PACs are not permitted to directly coordinate with campaigns they support. This super PAC is run by hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, the latter of which was recently named to the Trump transition team and are considered major players in Trump’s inner circle.
This is where it gets interesting for all of those folks out there believing Bannon is a Washington outsider. Always follow the money. In 2015, Glittering Steel LLC funded a film adaptation of the book Clinton Cash, described as “a train wreck of sloppy research and shoddy reporting” written by former editor in chief of Breitbart News Peter Schweizer. Schweizer also spent time as White House speech writer at the end of the G.W. Bush administration and as foreign policy advisor to Sarah Palin. Hardly an outsider. Most of Schweizer’s reporting has contained significant errors and distortions. The truly scary part about his reporting is the complete fabrication of stories and events.
How does this all connect? Follow the money. Trump, the Mercers and Bannon all run in the same inner circle made up of billionaire conspiracy theorists. The craziest of which appears to be Robert Mercer. Mercer made his money with computers, hired by a hedge fund to work with market data to detect trading patterns. Ultimately becoming CEO of Renaissance Technologies. Since making his billions, Mercer “resembles tinfoil-hat conspiracy nuts like Alex Jones” and gives his money to climate change deniers and speakers who present evidence that HIV does not cause AIDS, believing the disease is a government cover up of the health risks of “the homosexual lifestyle.” A man with these beliefs (and it doesn’t stop there, as you see in his bio) and an unlimited spending ability has been giving money directly to Steve Bannon to fund baseless smear ads throughout the entire campaign season, going back at least as far as July 2015. Mercer also ran a super PAC that sent money intended for Glittering Steel LLC directly to Breitbart’s address in the name of the Cruz campaign.
What can we take from all of this? Not only is the president-elect filling his cabinet with racist, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ misogynist xenophobes…but he’s filling his cabinet with racist, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ misogynist xenophobes deep in the pockets of reactionary, conspiracy theorist billionaires with dangerous ideas on how to run this country.