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Covid-19 hits San Diego political rainmakers

General Atomics’ Blue brothers shun Trump money-giving

The president criticized General Atomics' costly electromagnetic catapult, featured on the USS Gerald R. Ford.
The president criticized General Atomics' costly electromagnetic catapult, featured on the USS Gerald R. Ford.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a bite out of San Diego's financial contribution to national politics, per the latest raw numbers posted online by the Federal Election Commission.

From May 1 through May 20, those with addresses in three of the county's biggest-giving areas, including the city of San Diego, La Jolla, and Rancho Santa Fe, forked over just $16,566 to federal campaign committees.

Valerie and Harry Cooper depicted on the Museum of Contemporary Art website (Monte Carlo night).

At the top of the list of beneficiaries during the three weeks was David Perdue for Senate, the campaign fund of the incumbent Republican from Georgia, with $7600.

General Atomics co-owner James Neal Blue gave Perdue $5600 on May 12, and the Anesthesia Service Medical Group Advocacy Fund came up with $2000 on May 20.

Though Republican giving predominated in May, local Democrats anted up more significantly than Republicans over the previous four months from January 1 through April 30, FEC figures show,

Most of the money went through the online Democratic fundraising site ActBlue, which collected $3.55 million, representing about 62 percent of the $5.8 million raised in the county's top fundraising zones from January to April.

Second and third places were held by two committees backing the president's reelection: Donald J. Trump for President, which got $322,855, or 5.6 percent of the total, and Trump Victory, which picked up $263,658, or 4.57 percent.

In seventh place was Trump's Make America Great Again Committee, pulling in $118,863, about two percent. Combined, Trump backers collected $705,376.

Harry Cooper, uncle of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper – a frequent presidential critic who is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt and author Wyatt Cooper – gave the Trump committees a total of $23,700 on February 10, as did Cooper's wife Valerie.

Ted Giannoulas when he was the KGB Chicken

The same day, Ted Giannoulas, otherwise known as the San Diego Chicken, gave Team Trump $22,400. Steve Bannon, an early Trump booster, has known Giannoulas for years, according to an October, 2017 NPR account.

In 1993, Bannon's brother Chris produced a 30-minute San Diego Chicken highlight reel for the brothers' company, Bannon Film Industries, which eventually went on to make the anti-Hillary Clinton film Clinton Cash.

"Ultimately our goal is to build a Barney-the-dinosaur-like industry," Chris said in 1993 regarding the Giannoulas project.

"This video is really just the gateway event into The Chicken industry, as silly as it sounds." Queried by NPR in 2017, Giannoulas responded by email: "Thanks for the interest, but I don't have anything to add to your story."

On February 19, Trump held a lavish fundraiser at the Rancho Mirage estate of high-tech billionaire Larry Ellison.

A notable Trump non-donor in the opening four months of 2020 was San Diego's single biggest giver to Republican causes. James Neal Blue, CEO of La Jolla military contractor General Atomics, kicked in a total of $328,710 through April.

$100,000 of Blue's money went to the Senate Leadership Fund, and the same amount to the Congressional Leadership Fund. Each touts itself as an independent super PAC devoted to backing Republican candidates.

The president has not endeared himself to Blue and his brother, General Atomics co-owner Linden by being critical of their company's costly electromagnetic catapult, featured on the $12.8 billion aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.

"You are going [back] to goddamned steam; the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money, and it's no good." Trump told Navy officials in a May 2017 attack on the controversial system.

The Navy stuck with the program and now says the Ford has 3,000 successful catapult launches and landings under its belt, according to a June 4 report by Sea Power Magazine.

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The president criticized General Atomics' costly electromagnetic catapult, featured on the USS Gerald R. Ford.
The president criticized General Atomics' costly electromagnetic catapult, featured on the USS Gerald R. Ford.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a bite out of San Diego's financial contribution to national politics, per the latest raw numbers posted online by the Federal Election Commission.

From May 1 through May 20, those with addresses in three of the county's biggest-giving areas, including the city of San Diego, La Jolla, and Rancho Santa Fe, forked over just $16,566 to federal campaign committees.

Valerie and Harry Cooper depicted on the Museum of Contemporary Art website (Monte Carlo night).

At the top of the list of beneficiaries during the three weeks was David Perdue for Senate, the campaign fund of the incumbent Republican from Georgia, with $7600.

General Atomics co-owner James Neal Blue gave Perdue $5600 on May 12, and the Anesthesia Service Medical Group Advocacy Fund came up with $2000 on May 20.

Though Republican giving predominated in May, local Democrats anted up more significantly than Republicans over the previous four months from January 1 through April 30, FEC figures show,

Most of the money went through the online Democratic fundraising site ActBlue, which collected $3.55 million, representing about 62 percent of the $5.8 million raised in the county's top fundraising zones from January to April.

Second and third places were held by two committees backing the president's reelection: Donald J. Trump for President, which got $322,855, or 5.6 percent of the total, and Trump Victory, which picked up $263,658, or 4.57 percent.

In seventh place was Trump's Make America Great Again Committee, pulling in $118,863, about two percent. Combined, Trump backers collected $705,376.

Harry Cooper, uncle of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper – a frequent presidential critic who is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt and author Wyatt Cooper – gave the Trump committees a total of $23,700 on February 10, as did Cooper's wife Valerie.

Ted Giannoulas when he was the KGB Chicken

The same day, Ted Giannoulas, otherwise known as the San Diego Chicken, gave Team Trump $22,400. Steve Bannon, an early Trump booster, has known Giannoulas for years, according to an October, 2017 NPR account.

In 1993, Bannon's brother Chris produced a 30-minute San Diego Chicken highlight reel for the brothers' company, Bannon Film Industries, which eventually went on to make the anti-Hillary Clinton film Clinton Cash.

"Ultimately our goal is to build a Barney-the-dinosaur-like industry," Chris said in 1993 regarding the Giannoulas project.

"This video is really just the gateway event into The Chicken industry, as silly as it sounds." Queried by NPR in 2017, Giannoulas responded by email: "Thanks for the interest, but I don't have anything to add to your story."

On February 19, Trump held a lavish fundraiser at the Rancho Mirage estate of high-tech billionaire Larry Ellison.

A notable Trump non-donor in the opening four months of 2020 was San Diego's single biggest giver to Republican causes. James Neal Blue, CEO of La Jolla military contractor General Atomics, kicked in a total of $328,710 through April.

$100,000 of Blue's money went to the Senate Leadership Fund, and the same amount to the Congressional Leadership Fund. Each touts itself as an independent super PAC devoted to backing Republican candidates.

The president has not endeared himself to Blue and his brother, General Atomics co-owner Linden by being critical of their company's costly electromagnetic catapult, featured on the $12.8 billion aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.

"You are going [back] to goddamned steam; the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money, and it's no good." Trump told Navy officials in a May 2017 attack on the controversial system.

The Navy stuck with the program and now says the Ford has 3,000 successful catapult launches and landings under its belt, according to a June 4 report by Sea Power Magazine.

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