Paul Singer, Republican Donor, Won’t Take Part in Convention

Trump's nomination is prompting some elected officials and convention sponsors to rethink their support.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Add Paul Singer's name to the list of prominent Republican donors and officials who won't take part in the party convention next month, where Donald Trump is expected to be anointed the presidential nominee.

The billionaire New York hedge-fund manager won't donate to the convention in Cleveland or attend events there, according to a person with knowledge of his plans who spoke on condition of anonymity. A spokesman for Singer didn't respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment.

Singer spent millions trying to prevent Trump from winning Republican primary contests earlier this year. But his decision to sit out the convention may be felt beyond the presidential race. During the last such gathering in Tampa, Florida, in 2012, Singer organized briefings by luminaries such as Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, and a dinner for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. 

Trump's nomination is prompting some elected officials and convention sponsors to rethink their support, given the candidate's controversial proposals such as a ban on Muslims entering the country. The last two Republican nominees, Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain, have said they won't attend, and some corporate sponsors including Coca-Cola have scaled back their support from 2012 levels.

Last week, a spokesman said that David Koch, another major conservative donor, wouldn't be funding or attending the Cleveland convention, although the spokesman added that the decision was made prior to Trump's becoming the presumptive nominee.

"Mr. Trump has tremendous support and the money, which he is raising for the party, is pouring in," said a Trump spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, in an e-mail.

Emily Lauer, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland host committee, said in an interview last week that Trump's overall impact on fundraising had been "minimal" and that the group had received commitments for $57 million of the $64 million budget.

Singer is one of the party's biggest contributors and fundraisers. He gave $1 million toward the 2012 convention and $500,000 for the 2008 gathering.

According to an account in the National Review, Singer gave a speech in New York last month in which he called it a “difficult time, if not a bleak time" for conservatives.

Singer's influence may be felt in Cleveland even without his being there. His American Unity Fund is lobbying delegates to include language supportive of same-sex marriage in the party platform.

(An earlier version of this story said that Singer's hedge fund made a $500,000 contribution to the 2008 Republican convention. In fact, Singer made the contribution personally, according to a spokesman, Stephen Spruiell. The contribution was erroneously reported to the Federal Election Commission as coming from his hedge fund, and the fund is taking steps to correct the error in FEC records, Spruiell said.)
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