Billionaire Hedge Fund Leaders Join Ricketts’s Super-PACJulie Bykowicz and Greg Giroux
Two billionaire hedge fund executives have joined Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts’s super-political action committee as it works to elect Republicans to Congress, a U.S. Federal Election Commission report showed.
Paul Singer, president of New York-based Elliott Management, wrote a check for $350,000 to the Ending Spending super-PAC, and Baupost Group, the Boston hedge fund run by Seth Klarman, gave $450,000. Ricketts, also a billionaire, gave another $550,000, according to the report filed yesterday. Those three donations accounted for all of Ending Spending’s $1.35 million total for the first three months of this year.
The $450,000 contribution should have been noted in FEC paperwork as from Klarman personally, not from the company, Baupost spokeswoman Diana DeSocio said. Representatives of Ending Spending didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Ricketts’s son Todd Ricketts, who took over Ending Spending in 2013, has been trying to attract other donors to what had primarily been a family operation.
The super-PAC and its companion nonprofit, which doesn’t disclose donors, have raised and spent about $25 million since the elder Ricketts founded the groups in 2010.
The Ricketts family fortune from TD Ameritrade, an Omaha, Nebraska-based online brokerage service, is valued at more than $3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Todd Ricketts and his three siblings are majority owners of the Chicago Cubs.
Ending Spending has aired about 1,350 television advertisements in the New Hampshire and Georgia Senate contests, as well as in a North Carolina U.S. House race, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG. The organization also helped promote Representative Brad Byrne, who emerged from a Republican primary battle in Alabama to win a special election late last year for an open House seat.
Republicans need a net gain of six seats in November’s election to take control of the U.S. Senate. Ending Spending was one of the first groups to encourage former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown to run for the Senate from New Hampshire, where he would face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen if he prevails in the Republican primary.
In 2012, the organization supported Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s failed bid to oust President Barack Obama.
Separately this year, Singer has been courting donors for a pro-business Republican group. And in the first three months of 2014, Singer gave $1.75 million and Klarman $1 million to American Unity PAC, a super-PAC advocating for Republicans to support same-sex marriage, FEC filings yesterday show.
Singer was among the hedge fund leaders to contribute to the Republican Governors Association, which filed its first-quarter fundraising report yesterday with the Internal Revenue Service. He gave the group, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, $500,000 of its $23.5 million haul.
The RGA also received a total of $525,000 from Ken Griffin, founder and chief executive officer of Citadel Advisors LLC, and his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, the managing partner of Aragon Global Management LLC. Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb of Third Point Capital LLC contributed $500,000 to the RGA, the FEC report shows.
Also contributing $500,000 to the group were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Pfizer Inc.
A pro-Hillary Clinton group also reported its latest donors yesterday to the FEC.
Ready for Hillary, a super-PAC trying to persuade the former secretary of state to run for president in 2016, counted Laurene Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs; Sharon Corzine, wife of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine; and Denver, Colorado, software entrepreneur Tim Gill as some of its top donors in the first three months of the year. Each contributed $25,000.
Daniel Neidich, chief executive officer of New York-based Dune Real Estate Partners LP, also wrote a check for $25,000, and actor Alec Baldwin gave $5,000, the report shows.
The super-PAC limits donors to contributions of $25,000 and raised about $1.7 million between January and the end of March, a total it had announced last week.