Hedge Fund Managers Donate Millions To G.O.P. Senate Effort

Nov 3 2014 | 11:16am ET

If Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate tomorrow, they’ll have hedge funds to thank for bankrolling the effort.

Elliott Management’s Paul Singer, Tiger Management’s Julian Robertson and Renaissance Technologies’ Robert Mercer have all dug deep to donate to Republican campaigns and political action committees working to help the G.O.P. take the six seats they need for a majority in the 100-seat chamber. Pollsters and pundits say that the effort is likely to be a success, although a majority is far from assured.

Mercer has been perhaps the most generous, donating nearly $7 million. Some $2.5 million went to the Freedom Partners Action Fund, which has invested more than $12 million in eight Senate races. Mercer also gave $500,000 to a PAC focused on electing Republicans in Iowa and Michigan.

Also focused on Iowa are Singer and Robertson, who are responsible for almost half of the $1 million raised by the Iowa Political Fund, dedicated to electing Republican Joni Ernst to the Senate.

Hedge fund billionaires aren’t entirely partial to Republicans, however: A number have donated to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is up for reelection tomorrow.

Schneiderman has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors, Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo, in taking a tough line towards Wall Street. But that hasn’t stop the likes of Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn, Pershing Square Capital Management’s William Ackman and Kynikos Associates’ James Chanos from financially backing him. A pair of retired hedge fund billionaires, RenTech’s James Simons and George Soros, have also given to the Schneiderman campaign.

Of course, support for hedge funds and Wall Street isn’t always a partisan issue: In Rhode Island, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Allan Fung has made headway against Treasurer Gina Raimondo by criticizing the state pension’s hedge-fund investments. Recent polls show Fung within striking distance of Raimondo in that deeply Democratic state.

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