Boston hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman spent over $7 million donating to Republican candidates and political action committees during the years that Obama was president. In effect, you could say that Klarman used his fortune to help the GOP take control of the government.
But now Klarman is jumping from the sinking Republican ship. He has started contributing to Democrats and he hopes that by doing so he will be a factor in flipping Congress from red to blue in the 2018 midterm elections.
According to the billionaire he has been shocked and dismayed at the rise to power of Donald Trump. Not only that but he has been extremely unhappy at the lack of action from the Republican-controlled House and Senate to rein in the president. The acquiescence by Congress and the abdication of their role under the U.S. Constitution to be a “check and balance” on the president has convinced him the Democrats now must be in charge.
“The Republicans in Congress have failed to hold the president accountable and have abandoned their historic beliefs and values,” Klarman told the Boston Globe. “For the good of the country, the Democrats must take back one or both houses of Congress.”
So Klarman, who was once New England’s most generous donor to Republicans, is heaping his hedge-fund cash on Democratic candidates.
So far this election cycle he has given well over $200,000 to nearly 80 Democrats running for Congress, according to publicly available federal election data.
The great irony is that Klarman has found the money to donate to Democrats from the Republican tax cut bill passed last December.
“I received a tax cut I neither need nor want,” said Klarman, who has a net worth of over $1.5 billion. “I’m choosing to invest it to fight the administration’s flawed policies and to elect Democrats to the Senate and House of Representatives.”
His money has so far found its way to 56 Democrats running for House seats and 22 Democrats running for the U.S. Senate. And Klarman said he is going to keep on writing big checks to Democrats right up until the November election.
In addition to candidate contributions, Klarman’s money is also going to help causes in which he believes. So far he has donated nearly $2 million to various nonprofits which support issues such as gun control, the environment, and supporting the Constitution and the rule of law.
What’s notable about all of his chosen causes is that these are all areas under attack by Trump and his Republican enablers. But it’s also notable that Republican donors have lost faith in their party.
“These guys, a lot of them, are fiscal conservatives, and the only thing they see coming out of Trump is the daily crazy tweets,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican consultant who is strongly anti-Trump. “The contempt for him is profound among the donor community.”
We don’t know yet if Klarman is a GOP outlier or is actually part of a trend where GOP donors are now supporting Democrats in 2018. We won’t know that for a while, but if it’s true, this is just one more indication that the midterm elections this year will result in a Big Blue Wave.