By NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY –
Liberals who suspect that wealthy businessmen and political masterminds are colluding to hijack democracy might have fainted had they walked into the St. Regis hotel’s lobby restaurant in New York the other day. There was Rex Sinquefield, a deep-pocketed St. Louis, Mo., native and big-time political donor, sitting across from the Republican Rasputin himself, Karl Rove. The not-so-vast right-wing conspiracy in plain public view.
Mr. Sinquefield, an index-fund pioneer, has not drawn the fear and loathing that liberals devote to the billionaire Koch brothers and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Oh, Bloomberg News referred to him as “a new American oligarch,” and the New York Times recently painted an ominous portrait of him as “perhaps the most influential private citizen in the state.” But no one has picketed his home, Mr. Sinquefield says, or harassed his guests. At least not yet.
He is nonetheless one of the nation’s biggest conservative donors in a political year when they are much in the spotlight. So it seems like a good moment to meet one of these princes of alleged darkness in person and see the conspiracy from the inside. It turns out the inside looks a lot like it does from the outside. At age 67, Rex Sinquefield is a successful businessman and conservative who is passionate about his country and wants to turn its policies in a more prosperous direction. He’ll even spend lots of his own money to do it.
“By my engagement, as well as others like me,” he says, “voters are provided with more choices, not less.” He won’t say how much money he has donated to political causes in general, or specifically to Mr. Rove and his Super PAC, American Crossroads, but it’s safe to say it’s more than a pittance. Mr. Sinquefield is forthright in opposing campaign-finance limits and says, “Our system works when all voices are heard.”