Billionaire Republicans on Wall Street have opened their wallets to try to protect David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler’s Senate seats during the January 5 high-stakes runoff in Georgia against two Democratic challengers.
Two super Pacs plan to spend about $ 80 million on ads and other endeavors that the Republicans support.
Donors include Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone Group’s chief financial officer, and Kenneth Griffin of Citadel LLC, who have donated millions to the Senate Leadership Fund super Pac, which Perdue supports, according to campaign finance data.
Last month, Schwarzman, who briefly chaired Donald Trump’s strategic and policy forum, contributed $ 15 million and Griffin donated $ 10 million to the Pac; while earlier this year, the Pac received $ 20 million from Schwarzman and $ 25 million from Griffin.
Separately, a fundraising committee backing both Republican senators, which launched last month, surpassed its goal of raising $ 35 million to oppose Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. This committee is also helped by Wall Street fundraisers, including Schwarzman, Griffin and others, two GOP sources say.
Georgia’s run-off will determine which party controls the senate – and, consequently, how much political power the Joe Biden government will have to push its agenda.
If Ossoff and Warnock win, the Senate would be split 50-50, putting Democrats in control as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would have a draw.
Because the stakes are so high, reports show that more than $ 400 million in advertising has been spent or booked in Georgia so far through the campaigns of the candidates, their parties and outside donors.
With fundraising and advertising spending in Georgia on the rise, it appears the two senators and their supporters are on track to have a clear edge over their Democratic challengers.
Analysis from the impartial Center for Responsive Politics (CPR) shows that securities firms, insurance and real estate companies have traditionally been the main donors to Perdue and Loeffler.
Elected in 2014, Perdue raised approximately $ 4.4 million from securities, investment and real estate companies from 2015-2020, making the industry its top campaign funder, CRP data shows.
Loeffler, appointed in late 2019 to fill the seat of a retiring senator with health concerns, has raised more than $ 1.1 million from these companies this cycle, or more than other industries have donated, CRP says.
“Perdue and Loeffler’s money from Wall Street and real estate towers over any other industry that supports them in the 2020 cycle,” said Sheila Krumholz, CRP’s executive director. “In addition to the money for the candidates, conservative outside groups are also raising money from major financial interests for the layoffs from the Georgia Senate in an effort to keep these seats – and the Senate – for the GOP.”
Among Perdue’s top 10 backers were executives from insurer AFLAC and Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, who gave him $ 92,000 and $ 88,000 respectively, according to CRP.
Loeffler’s top 10 donors have withdrawn $ 114,650 from Intercontinental Exchange, a company her husband Jeffrey Sprecher runs; $ 29,450 from AFLAC; and $ 22,500 from Blackstone Group.
The Senate Leadership Fund, which has close ties with Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has pulled its biggest checks from Schwarzman and Griffin in the financial sector.
Other financial industry mega donors to the super Pac include the CEOs of Charles Schwab Corp, who gave $ 6.3 million, plus Elliott Management and Stephens Inc, both of which brought in $ 4 million.
Overall, CRP data revealed that donations from the financial, insurance and real estate sectors totaled nearly $ 126 million to the super PAC, which raised nearly $ 400 million over the election cycle.
Democrats on Wall Street, meanwhile, have backed a big Pac that backs Ossoff and Warnock, though they’ve been outdone in donations so far.
Pro-Democratic Senate Majority Pac, which is expected to spend millions of dollars in the run-offs, raised a lot of money from two financial giants before November 3, received $ 10.2 million from Renaissance Technologies and $ 5 million from Paloma Partners, according to CRP.
In total, however, the Senate majority Pac had only $ 2.1 million to spend on Nov. 23, while the Senate leadership fund had $ 60.8 million, according to CRP.
Perdue and Loeffler’s strong support from financial sector leaders appears to be due in part to their links with the industry. Perdue, an ex-CEO of Dollar General whose net worth was estimated at $ 16 million last year, was on the board of Cardlytics, a financial technology company.
Loeffler’s husband Sprecher is chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and heads the global exchange operator ICE. The couple’s net worth has been set at $ 800 million by Forbes.
However, both senators were dogged by ethical issues related to significant stock trading during the early stages of the pandemic, prompting federal investigations into possible illicit insider trading.
Perdue, the most prolific stock trader in the Senate, has been criticized by the Justice Department for his well-timed and profitable stock trading in Cardlytics: Perdue sold approximately $ 1 million worth of Cardlytics stock in January. Investigators looked at a personal email he had received before the stock sale and whether he was aware of a major management shift early on, the New York Times reported.
DoJ reportedly chose not to charge Perdue with illegal trade, but the issue has kick-started his runoff campaign and may have influenced his decision not to appear at a debate with Ossoff earlier this month.
Loeffler was also involved in an investigation into possible insider trading during the pandemic: she dumped millions of dollars in stocks shortly after receiving a private briefing from health officials in January about the new threat.
DoJ investigated her appeals and those of some of the other members, but told Loeffler in March that it was not pursuing charges.
Still, the issue of stock trading has surfaced in the run-offs: When the moderator pressed Loeffler during her debate with Warnock last Sunday on whether senators should be allowed to trade stocks, she avoided answering, citing she’s controversy over her trade a ‘conspiracy’ and ‘left turn’. wing media lie ”.