'Davos Meets Wolf of Wall Street': 'Showboat' Donors Using Politics to Expand Personal Brands

'Davos Meets Wolf of Wall Street': 'Showboat' Donors Using Politics to Expand Personal Brands

Anthony Scaramucci is described as a “fast-talking hedge fund manager who stands about 5 feet 8 inches on a good day.” Though he has only given “a little more than $16,000 to candidates since 2012” and just over “$130,000 to political action committees,” he has leveraged those donations to build and expand his personal brand.

Like many in the permanent political class with the “This Town” state of mind, it’s all about him.

Before 2012, “the bulk of the cash that he did give went to Democrats,” specifically to Barack Obama, with whom he attended Harvard Law School. However, he reportedly soured on Obama once he started to push for more Wall Street regulations and, just like that, started bragging about being one of Mitt Romney’s “top” fundraisers in 2012.

According to a Politico profile of the “showboat” donor, Scaramucci is known as “The Mooch,” and since he can “steer major Wall Street money to hedge funds and super PACs alike,” Republicans like Karl Rove, Paul Ryan, and Scott Brown have been courting him.

According to the report, “The Mooch” runs the annual SALT Conference, which is reportedly named for his SkyBridge Capital fund. He is “a self-styled Davos meets Wolf of Wall Street” who attracts people from business (Ken Langone), Hollywood (Kevin Spacey), sports (Magic Johnson), and politics (Valerie Jarrett, David Petraeus, Tony Blair, David Plouffe, Larry Summers). Many of these luminaries are lured by appearance fees.

Candidates and politicos put up with the ostentatious Scaramucci, who “favors custom-made Loro Piana pinstriped suits” and has a “golden harp in his living room,” because he can get the attention of campaigns, leveraging his contacts to bundle money for them.

“He has the profile of Sheldon Adelson, but not the bank account,” one person told the outlet, meaning he can’t cut big checks but can get a lot of people to donate significant amounts.

His boasting got him in trouble in 2012, though, when he told a Bloomberg reporter about a closed-door fundraiser for Karl Rove’s Crossroads group. At that event, Rove infamously said Republicans should “sink” Todd Akin and then chillingly commented, “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!” The Bloomberg reporter recorded it all after reportedly walking into the event.

This year’s SALT conference was not off the record, but perhaps that got lost in translation for Valerie Jarrett, who revealed that the White House had a “commitment from” House Speaker John Boehner on amnesty legislation this year. She sheepishly walked back her remarks the next morning on Twitter. Call it the “Tweet of Shame.”

“The Mooch” may have been ahead of the curve, though, no matter how unseemly his “showboating” and allegiances to the bipartisan permanent political class may be. With more ways for politicians to get money in an age when elections are becoming more expensive, there may be more “showboat donors” – and their even more unseemly mini-mes and wannabes – on the way.


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