Rich Donors Don't Act on Threat to Stop

Ben and Jerry boss can't stop dishing up campaign treats.

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If you're a wealthy business owner, raging at politicians is in. Warren Buffet and Donald Trump say rich guys don't pay enough in taxes and Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, is threatening to stop donating to campaigns all together until Washington gets its act together.

The latest to jump on the bandwagon is Ben Cohen, Ben and Jerry's cofounder and the leader of Patriotic Millionaires, a group committed to raising taxes for the "ultra-wealthy."

Cohen discussed his group's "Shared Sacrifice" policy Wednesday during a an interview on MSNBC and endorsed Schultz's policy that the very rich should stop donating money until Congress is fixed. He even said he'd be on board with suspending his contributions.

"Well speaking for myself as an individual," he said."I think a big problem in our Democracy is money in politics and political contributions. We have to put a stop to the way we finance elections." [Check out editorial cartoons about the economy.]

Cohen may feel that's the right way to go, but he's never led by example. In fact, he's a valued donor.

Only .04 percent of the population donates more than $200 to candidates and Cohen is one of them. Declaring he'd stop donating is quite a commitment for a guy who's given roughly $125,000 to candidates, parties and PACs over the past 20 years.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Cohen donated $4,350 to Al Franken in 2008, $3,000 to the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party in 2006, $2,000 to Barack Obama in 2004 and thousands more to more than 40 other candidates.

His most recent donation was in June of this year to Ilya Sheyman, a Democrat running for Congress in Illinois' hotly contested 10th district. [See political cartoons about President Obama.]

Whether Cohen and others stop donating to elections is still to be seen, but in the meantime, maybe the millionaires will consider sending a check to the IRS. They probably wouldn't mail it back.

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