Money Managers And Their Donation Dollars
Simons Backs Democrats With $4 Million To Super PACs

Sep 27 2012 | 11:57am ET

While many of his peers have switched sides, one hedge fund billionaire is keeping faith with President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party—and in a big way.

Renaissance Technologies founder James Simons has taken advantage of a 2010 Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited donations to so-called Super PACs, one of just a few Democratic supporters to fully embrace the controversial vehicles. The retired former math professor has donated at least $4 million to the PACs, making him the biggest giver to Democratic Super PACs in the country.

Gifts like Simons'—at least $2 million to Priorities USA Action, which backs the president, and $2 million more to two other PACs backing Congressional Democrats—have helped Democrats close what was expected to be a huge fundraising gap between them and the Republicans. The latter still have a big lead, but many Democratic donors, previously loathe to donate to groups whose very existence they oppose, seem to be becoming more pragmatic with the election just six weeks away.

In addition to his monetary contribution, Simons is also serving as a volunteer fundraiser for the Super PACs, and hosted prospective donors at an event during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

"The fact is that I am not seeking any publicity in this matter," Simons told The New York Times. "The donations can speak for themselves."

Meanwhile, one of Simons' hand-picked successors is trying to blunt the impact of Simons' billions. Robert Mercer, who heads RenTech alongside Peter Brown, like his boss a Democrat, has given more than $1 million to pro-Mitt Romney groups. And he's also trying to ensure that RenTech's hometown of East Setauket, N.Y., has a G.O.P. congressman with huge donations to the candidate seeking to oust Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) from the eastern Long Island seat.

Mercer has given $500,000 to a Super PAC backing Randy Altschuler, the Republican candidate. That's the overwhelming majority of the total amount raised by Prosperity First. New York's First Congressional District is seen as competitive; Bishop beat Altschuler by fewer than 600 votes four years ago, and Obama carried the district with only 52% of the vote, less than the nearly 53% he won nationally and the nearly 63% he won in New York as a whole.


In Depth

Why Ponzi Schemes Work: An In-Depth Look At The Allen Stanford Fraud

Dec 21 2014 | 10:30am ET

Texan Allen Stanford first appeared on the radars of financial regulators in 1997...

Lifestyle

Cooper-Hohn Won't Contest Divorce Settlement

Dec 18 2014 | 9:51am ET

The ex-wife of hedge fund billionaire Christopher Hohn will not contest a divorce...

Guest Contributor

Alternative Investment Funds Face A Communications Imperative

Dec 19 2014 | 6:10am ET

A handful of the top alternative investment firms on both sides of the Atlantic...

 

Sponsored Content

Editor's Note

    Guidelines for Guest Articles

    Oct 22 2014 | 9:46am ET

    We are always looking for guest articles from hedge fund managers and buy-side firms.

    If you are interested in submitting a contributed piece for possible publication on FINalternatives, please take a look at the specs. Read more…

 

Futures Magazine

December 2014 Cover

Futures 2014 person of the year

Jeff Sprecher was simply looking for a platform to trade energies when launching ICE 14 years ago but it has grown to reach the pinnacle of both the listed futures and equities world.

The Alpha Pages

TAP July/August 2014 Cover

The Alpha Pages Interview: Senator Rand Paul

Senator Paul sat down in the debut series of the Alpha Pages Interview to discuss the broken tax code, regulation surrounding Bitcoin, and his plans for the 2016 Presidential election.