Deep pocketed donors have long played a role in national politics, but perhaps no group has become more influential in this election cycle than the financial titans known as asset managers.
In this series, which will appear over the next two weeks, we take a close look at hedge fund managers, private equity executives and their less glamorous but equally powerful Wall Street counterparts to discover who is supporting Romney and who is backing Obama—why, and for how much.
Cliff Asness, AQR Capital Management
“Prominent” and “outspoken,” are two adjectives frequently applied to hedge fund manager Clifford Asness (AQR Capital Management) and this election cycle he’s dedicating his prominent outspokenness to getting Mitt Romney elected.
Asness and wife Laurel have made political donations worth $436,011 since 1998 and their party leanings can probably deduced from the division of those funds: $52,299 to Democrats, $344,962 to Republicans.
Asness was a significant supporter of John McCain—acting as what’s called a ‘bundler,’ a donor who maxes out his or her personal contributions then convinces friends, associates and others to chip in and delivers the checks in one big “bundle”—and winning his backing is considered a coup for Romney.
Although he declined to comment on his decision to back Romney to FINalternatives, Asness has lived up to his reputation for outspokenness on the issue, telling the New York Times in October 2011 that “Mitt Romney grasps how a free economy works, and doesn’t think our current problems come from job-killing ATM’s and evil rich people. Nor does he think the solution is more stimulus, regulation and class warfare.”
Money Managers And Their Donation Dollars