- Five of the ten biggest individual donors in the 2018 midterms were hedge fund founders, a new report from Washington D.C. non-profit Public Citizen states.
- Out of the nearly $700 million given by the 100 biggest donors in the 2017-18 election cycle, nearly half came from the finance industry, the report states.
- The biggest donors from the hedge fund industry include Tom Steyer, an outspoken Democrat who has pushed to impeach President Donald Trump, and Donald Sussman, who had donated nearly $23 million to Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign.
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There was no shortage of interest, and spending, from hedge fund big-shots in the 2018 midterm elections.
A new report from Washington D.C. non-profit Public Citizen found that of the top 10 biggest individual donors, five were hedge fund founders: Farallon Capital’s Tom Steyer, Paloma Partners’ Donald Sussman, Renaissance Technologies’ Jim Simons, Citadel’s Ken Griffin, and Soros Fund Management’s George Soros.
While big-name finance donors like Blackstone CEO Steven Schwarzman and Charles Schwab gave millions to Republicans, a majority of the 15 hedge fund founders on the list gave to Democrats, including Baupost CEO Seth Klarman, who was once the biggest Republican donor in Massachusetts.
Billionaire John Paulson, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporter in the hedge fund industry, was not on the list of top donors.
Here are the 15 hedge fund founders that made it.
1. Tom Steyer
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Tom Steyer, who made his fortune running Farallon Capital, has not been shy about speaking out against Trump or spending his vast fortune to get him out of office.
Steyer has been one of the loudest voices calling to impeach the President and gave $72.5 million to different Democratic candidates and PACs.
He viewed the midterm elections as critical to a possible impeachment, telling CNBC before the election that "we’re screwed" if the Democrats didn’t perform well. The Democrats ended up re-taking the House of Representatives.
2. Donald Sussman
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Donald Sussman, the founder of Paloma Partners, was a big Hillary Clinton backer in 2015 and 2016. In the midterms, he spent more than $22 million in 2017 and 2018 to break Republicans’ hold on the House of Representatives.
Sussman, whose investment in D.E. Shaw in the 1980s helped launch the quant giant, was the fifth biggest individual donor in the midterm election cycle, according to Public Citizen.
3. Jim and Marilyn Simons
Donating more than $20 million between them, Jim and Marilyn Simons were the sixth-biggest political donors in the 2018 election cycle.
Jim Simons, who created secretive quant fund Renaissance Technologies, can certainly afford it: Simons made $1.6 billion in 2018, despite stepping away from day-to-day leadership of the fund nearly a decade ago.
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