Dems Point Finger At Hedge Fund Manager In California Campaign Caper

Oct 2 2007 | 7:30am ET

A prominent hedge fund manager is at the center of what some Democrats have called former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s attempt to rig the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Democrats are crying foul after it was revealed that Paul Singer, the founder of New York-based hedge fund Elliott Associates, bankrolled an aborted effort to change the way that California awards its electoral votes. The move would purportedly favor Republicans.

Singer, a major Giuliani fundraiser and adviser, turned out to be the only donor to the effort, giving $175,000 to Missouri-based Take Initiative America, which in turn gave the money to Californians for Equal Representation. Democrats say they smell something fishy, and have filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission asking it to probe the link between the effort and the Giuliani campaign.

“Why wasn’t Paul Singer’s involvement in this dirty trick aimed at stealing the White House previously disclosed?” Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean demanded in a statement. “Given his role in the Giuliani campaign, voters deserve to know the truth about Rudy’s involvement in and knowledge about this shameful effort to disenfranchise voters.”

The Giuliani campaign denied any wrongdoing. “This is completely independent from our campaign and, frankly, it is not an initiative that serves our campaign’s best interests.”

California, the most populous state in the U.S., is the biggest Election Day prize with 55 electoral votes, and, like most states, awards all of them to the statewide winner. The Democratic candidate for president has won the Golden State in the past four elections for the nation’s highest office; Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) took 54% of the vote—and all 55 electoral votes—to President George W. Bush’s 44%.

Under the change proposed by Californians for Equal Representation, the statewide winner would receive only two of the electoral votes; the balance would be awarded by Congressional district. With Republicans holding 19 of the state’s 53 Congressional seats, the change would likely benefit the Republican candidate for president.

But the effort collapsed when Singer’s $175,000 turned out to be the only donation; in order to gather the requisite number of signatures to get the proposal on the ballot it would have taken as much as $2 million.

Elliott’s Singer serves as regional chairman for Giuliani’s campaign. He and other Elliott employees have given tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign coffers.


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