Thursday, September 26, 2013

Arkansan with inherited Stephens fortune powers Club for Growth

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 1:03 PM

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It's always worth a reminder that a major motive force for the anti-tax Club for Growth PAC is a wealthy Arkansan who made his fortune the old-fashioned way — he inherited it.

That would be Jackson T. Stephens Jr..

He gets another shout out this week as one of the top five bank-rollers of the Club for Growth in this article by USA Today. He's given more than $1 million to a Club for Growth PAC that is required to report contributions since 2011, the article says. The Club for Growth, a prime mover of the government shutdown lobby, is currently on air in Arkansas with ads pounding U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor in favor of Club for Growth camp follower Tom Cotton. Cotton is the Harvard-educated D.C. corporate  consultant who took a rent house back in Yell County so he could serve in Congress (nominally for the 4th District of Arkansas, but really for the CFG) for a short spell before running for Senate.

Stephens is a "champion for economic freedom," the Club's paid flak says of sponsors. That would be the freedom to enjoy inherited millions without taxation and with minimum government assistance for people less fortunate than he. Stephens has some business ventures, but past court records have indicated he relies heavily on inherited riches built by his father and uncle. He's listed as chair of the Club for Growth board. Peter Thiel, the PayPal founder, was the top giver listed, at $2 million.

The Club's work is credited with creating a division within Republican ranks.

In the end, the Senate voted Wednesday to move ahead with consideration of a House-passed spending bill to keep the government running temporarily. But the fight has divided the Republican Party, pitting high-ranking GOP incumbents, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, against a new brand of conservatives elected in recent years and increasingly influential outside groups like the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, which this week called McConnell and the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, "turncoats."

Club for Growth praised Cruz's speaking marathon.

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