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Citadel’s CEO Ken Griffin turns into GOP $100 million midterm megadonor

Ken Griffin, Citadel at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha, Sept. 28, 2022.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Citadel’s billionaire CEO, Ken Griffin, is one in every of Wall Avenue’s largest political donors within the 2022 midterms, giving greater than $100 million towards state and federal candidates throughout the nation since April 2021, marketing campaign finance information present.

The $50 million Griffin has donated to Republicans operating in federal races alone make him the occasion’s single largest particular person donor from the finance business and the third-biggest political donor to federal candidates on this election cycle, in accordance with knowledge tracked by marketing campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets.

Solely Soros Fund Administration founder George Soros and transport magnate Richard Uihlein have given extra to candidates operating for the U.S. Home or Senate. Soros has donated over $128 million to Democrats whereas Uihlein has given $53 million to Republicans, in accordance with OpenSecrets.

Griffin, nonetheless, has spent one other $50 million throughout this election cycle — which runs from Jan. 1, 2021 by means of the top of this 12 months — on the failed Illinois gubernatorial marketing campaign of Aurora, In poor health., Mayor Richard Irvin, who misplaced within the Republican major, in accordance with state marketing campaign finance information.

Citadel introduced plans this summer season to maneuver its headquarters from Chicago to Miami, because the Windy Metropolis struggles to cease an increase in crime. Griffin has beforehand stated a part of his feud with Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker is over the Democratic chief’s report on crime. Griffin stated at a DealBook convention final 12 months that when he introduced up the crime subject to Pritzker, “he took the second to name me a liar.”

Zia Ahmed, a spokesman for Griffin, informed CNBC in a press release that the Citadel CEO is aiming to “broaden the tent of the Republican Occasion.”

“Ken desires to raise proficient candidates and broaden the tent of the Republican Occasion to make it extra consultant of our nation,” Ahmed stated. “He helps leaders who will concentrate on training, job creation, public security and a powerful nationwide protection so that each particular person has entry to the American dream.”

Democratic political operatives have taken goal at Griffin, particularly as he is tried to make an impression on elections.

The Democratic Governors Affiliation, an out of doors group that backs Democrats, organized opposition analysis on Griffin as he was deciding who to help within the Illinois Republican major for governor. The analysis, which was reviewed by CNBC, is titled “Ken Griffin Has Been Enjoying Kingmaker In IL Politics With No Penalties.” It is a compilation of public paperwork and reporting that included a concentrate on Griffin’s divorces. Pritzker, who has an estimated internet price of $3.6 billion, donated $24 million to the group as Griffin moved to again Irvin, in accordance with information filed to the IRS.

In a press release to CNBC, the Democratic governors’ group in contrast Griffin’s contributions to these of Charles Koch and his brother, the late David Koch. They stated that Griffin deserves scrutiny because of him changing into a serious donor for Republicans.

“Very similar to when the Koch Brothers had been the Republican Occasion’s primary donor it was necessary for the general public to grasp how they had been making an attempt to make use of their cash to additional their very own particular pursuits,” a Democratic Governors Affiliation spokesperson stated after being requested concerning the opposition analysis. “Ken Griffin is now the most important donor within the GOP and deserves the identical type of scrutiny.”

Citadel’s CEO Ken Griffin turns into GOP 0 million midterm megadonor

Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and different GOP leaders have privately courted Griffin as one in every of their most necessary and profitable donors this cycle, as Republicans attempt to take again each the U.S. Home and Senate, in accordance with individuals conversant in the conversations.

Democrats management the Home and Senate, however by slim margins. The Senate is break up 50-50 with Democrats counting on Vice President Kamala Harris to interrupt any ties. Prepare dinner Political Report labels Senate seats held by Sens. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., as toss-ups. Within the Home, Democrats have a nine-seat majority. However the Prepare dinner report tasks that 30 of the chamber’s 435 seats are up for grabs.

Information from AdImpact reveals the final election battle for management of the Senate has price over $1 billion with virtually 30 days left to go till Election Day. In whole, federal candidates and PACs have spent in extra of $6.4 billion on the 2022 midterms, placing them on observe to be the most costly ever.

Republican leaders are turning to Griffin to take the lead after two of the GOP occasion’s most influential donors have died: former govt vice chairman of Koch Industries David Koch at 79 in August 2019 and on line casino magnate Sheldon Adelson at 87 in January 2021.

CEO and chairman of on line casino firm Las Vegas Sands Sheldon Adelson (L) listens as US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Preserve America Nice rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 21, 2020.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Photos

“He likes being a participant” in politics, a Koch political advisor informed CNBC when requested about Griffin’s efforts to sway the midterms. Griffin stated in a 2012 interview with the Chicago Tribune that he knew David Koch and his brother Charles for “plenty of years” and repeatedly went to the Koch community seminars, the place enterprise leaders would huddle with the group’s donors.

The Koch’s coverage community has spent lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} over the previous decade on campaigns.

David Koch

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Griffin, 53, has “youth on his aspect and doubtless $35 billion,” the Koch advisor stated. “He may step up however these are massive sneakers to fill.” Forbes estimates Griffin has a internet price of $30.5 billion.

Amongst Wall Avenue executives, the following largest GOP donors embody Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman with $20 million in contributions and Paul Singer, the founding father of Elliott Administration, who’s donated $14 million throughout this election cycle. Jeffrey Yass, the co-founder of Philadelphia primarily based buying and selling agency Susquehanna Worldwide Group, has contributed over $30 million.

McConnell and occasion officers this summer season had been anticipating Griffin to chop a multimillion-dollar examine to the Senate Management Fund, in accordance with these conversant in McConnell’s pondering. Although McConnell would not run the tremendous PAC, which is devoted to serving to Republicans get elected to the Senate, it is carefully aligned with the senator and run by his former chief of workers, Steven Legislation.

Griffin donated $10 million to the PAC in two evenly break up checks despatched in December and March, Federal Election Fee filings present. Griffin minimize one other examine to the PAC within the third quarter, in accordance with an individual near the billionaire, however they would not say how a lot and the PAC would not must disclose its most up-to-date fundraising information to the FEC till Oct. 15.

Griffin additionally just lately donated to the Congressional Management Fund, an excellent PAC backing Home Republican candidates, that particular person stated, declining to say how a lot. FEC information present Griffin donated over $18 million to that group from Jan. 1, 2021 by means of June.

A consultant for McConnell didn’t return a request for remark.

Griffin gave $5 million final 12 months to a separate political motion committee backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2022 reelection bid and an extra $5 million to the Republican Occasion of Florida in August, in accordance with state marketing campaign finance information.

Throughout CNBC’s Delivering Alpha Convention, Griffin indicated that he is turn into so near DeSantis that his workforce informed the governor that Griffin did not agree with DeSantis’ choice to fly two planes of Central and South American migrants to Martha’s Winery.

“I do not agree with what he did,” Griffin stated when requested on the convention about DeSantis transport migrants to Florida. “I am sure that my workforce’s communicated that to him,” he added. He additionally stated he was open to changing into Treasury secretary if the nation was experiencing an financial disaster. DeSantis hasn’t dominated out operating for president within the upcoming 2024 election.

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