I have a suspicion that whoever coined the phrase “crony capitalism” believed that it was just another example of the moral defects of a market economy. As such, this reflects the spirit of vexatious claims by Marx & Marxists of the “fatal and internal contradiction” of capitalism that would lead to its inevitable and exorable demise. (And, of course. from their perspective: good riddance!)
But applying crony to accompany capitalism disregards the fact that competition is an essential element of markets. As such, it is surprising to find advocates of free markets using this oxymoronic term.
While markets use prices as an instrument to coordinate individual actions & interaction, the social function of prices depends upon private property rights operating within a competitive framework.
As it is, the notion of “cronyism” is a feature of public-sector governance and is found in virtually every form of governance. A better way to describe this sort of influence peddling is “rent-seeking” behavior, though the latter phrase has ambiguous import to non-economists.