Bill Clinton is many things to many people: one of the greatest presidents ever; a degenerate; a humanitarian; and according to television comedy writers, probably the best wing-man one could ask for.
Bill Clinton is also a team player. He is one of the most coveted figures in democratic fund-raising.
So it may have raised some eyebrows this week to see such an international name get involved in a relatively small-town election, but Federal Election Commission records show Mayoral Candidate Philip Levine is no stranger to doling out the cash for democratic causes nationally and in states other than Florida.
In national efforts Levine has shelled out support for various Democratic-leaning political operative groups by the hundred thousands.
In 2000, the FEC has Levine (who is identified by name, city, and often alongside the names of corporations he runs) contributing $499,000 in soft money.
He has also contributed tens of thousands to joint committees who later distribute the money to other committees, according to FEC records.
Over the years Levine has also contributed over $120,000 to individual committees. These committees are either directly controlled by the Democratic National Committee or are committees set up by a candidate seeking a national seat.
Opponents like to cast Levine as a new comer to politics, but over a decade he has financially supported candidates in many states other than Florida: Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Dakota, New York, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Maryland, and Michigan.
That list probably rivals the travel list of Clinton over the years as he trots around the country trying to drum up support for various candidates.
On the day Clinton was in Miami Beach secretly endorsing Levine, the DNC circulated a letter by the former president asking readers to support a candidate for governor in Virginia.
“My close friend Terry McAuliffe is running for governor (he’ll be a great one!) against a guy who’s really out there,” wrote Clinton.
McAuliffe was the head of the DNC a few years back, and himself a very vocal cheerleader for his party.
Clinton used the friendship tag when he allegedly endorsed Levine this Monday:“I would be for Philip if we weren’t friends, because he puts a premium on cooperation across party lines. America is being damaged by conflict, and we need people who will show up for work everyday. Philip will show up to work and get things done,” said Clinton according to a Levine press release.
The SunPost has humbly put in a request for comment with Clinton reps.
Levine has been a financial supporter of the Clinton circle, he has supported his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton in her runs, has supported Clinton-Vice Al Gore, and Clinton’s former White House Chief of Staff Erskine B Bowles’ failed run for senate.
It is also speculated that Hillary will make another run for the White House, and some in the media, like the Herald’s Marc Caputo, believe Levine is a nice friend to keep satiated for that run.
Much is also being made of Clinton’s wording, especially the part of Levine being “cooperative across party lines.
For all the cred Levine should earn as a staunch democrat, he has donated to some republicans. The one that has been making the rounds is the donation to Tea-Party favorite Marco Rubio. He gave Rubio $2,400 in 2009 during his run against Republican-turned-Independent Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek.
He has also given money to Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart, to the lean tune of $250.00. A Philip Levine of Miami Beach is credited to giving $1,000 to Conrad Burns, Republican Senator from Montana.
His contributions to democrats in the South Florida and nationally way out weight those. He’s contributed to numerous Kennedys, and many names known widely in political circles.
If these records are any indication, a Clinton endorsement did not just fall from the sky. If the SunPost gets an answer from Clinton, it will be printed in the future.
Whatever the reason, Levine says he is moved by the endorsement: “To say that I am honored to receive President Clinton’s endorsement of my candidacy is an understatement.”