Employees of a hedge fund founded by the king of the Institutional Left, billionaire and Democratic Party mega-donor George Soros, donated tens of thousands of dollars to top Republicans who fought against President Donald Trump in 2016, donation records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show.
Soros Fund Management, a former hedge fund that serves now as an investment management firm, was founded by progressive billionaire George Soros in 1969. It has risen to become one of the most profitable hedge funds in the industry. Employees of the firm are heavily involved in backing political candidates giving millions upon millions to groups that were supporting failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton for the presidency.
But more importantly, perhaps, than the unsurprising giant lump sums of cash funneled into Democratic Party and Clinton coffers is the revelation thanks to the Center for Responsive Politics that employees of the Soros firm—now run by his son Robert Soros—pumped tens of thousands of dollars into the campaigns of top anti-Trump Republicans over the course of 2016.
In total, executives with the Soros-founded company pushed $36,800 into the coffers of these GOP candidates just this past cycle. That does not include Super PACs or campaign committees, which saw tens of thousands of dollars more. While these numbers for Republicans pale in comparison to the millions upon millions poured into Democratic groups, causes, and candidates, it is significant that Soros executives are making a play inside the GOP. Perhaps even more significant is the type of Republican they aim to prop up: pro-amnesty, pro-open borders on trade, and generally speaking anti-Trump. A pattern emerges when looking at the policies of the Republicans that these Soros Fund Management executives support financially.
The biggest recipient of Soros-connected cash in the GOP was none other than House Speaker Paul Ryan, who repeatedly attempted to undermine Trump over the course of the election. According to the records available online, the Soros firm’s workers gave $10,800 to Ryan. Included in that are two separate May 2, 2016, donations from David Rogers, a then-employee of Soros Fund Management who lives in New York City. Rogers left the Soros Fund Management firm right around that time.
Bloomberg reported in late April 2016, just before these two separate donations to Ryan;
David Rogers and Joshua Donfeld, two portfolio managers at billionaire George Soros’s family office, are leaving the firm over disagreements with its new chief investment officer about the direction of global markets, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Rogers, a protege of Soros’s former chief investment strategist Stan Druckenmiller, managed a portfolio of about $3 billion at the $28 billion Soros Fund Management, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. Rogers, 38, made his name as a commodities trader, while Donfeld, 40, focuses on stock investing, said the people, adding that both men are expected to leave the family office next month.
Another two separate donations to Ryan came from Donfeld, both on May 2, 2016 and totaling $2,700 each. In total, that adds up to $10,800—between both Rogers and Donfeld, who were working for Soros Fund Management at the time—that they gave to Paul Ryan.
Ryan’s chief spokesman, Brendan Buck, has not responded to a Breitbart News’s inquiry about the donations from the Soros firm’s employees. But Ryan’s support for open borders when it comes to immigration and trade, and his backing of so-called “criminal justice reform” legislation, is in line with Soros’ worldview—and he regularly bashed Trump over the course of the 2016 election.
But he was hardly the only anti-Trump Republican who received cash from Soros Fund Management employees over the course of 2016. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a failed presidential candidate, received $3,500 from the firm’s employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics data. That includes a $1,500 donation from Soros Fund Management executive Scott Bessent. Bessent has since left the firm to work at a different hedge fund, but “oversaw George Soros’s $30 billion fortune for the last four years” according to an early January 2016 article in Bloomberg. The other two donations to Graham from the firm’s employees—both worth $1,000, with one on March 17, 2015, and the other on July 29, 2015—came from Alexander Cohen, an executive with Soros Fund Management.
Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop argues that since Soros himself didn’t give Graham money that this is not controversial.
“George Soros has never given a penny to Lindsey Graham,” Bishop said in an email. “George Soros Fund Management has never given a penny to Lindsey Graham. These are donations from individuals who are employed by Soros Fund Management.”
Bishop compared this to an employee for Amway or for the Trump Organization making a donation to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign in 2016, something that would mean that employee–not Amway owners like the DeVos family or President Trump or his family–is the one making the donation. But Bishop does not deny that Graham did take a donation from Soros Fund Management employees.
Fellow failed presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) raked in $2,700, while other failed GOP presidential candidates Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also received $2,700 apiece from employees of the Soros firm.
Rubio’s $2,700 donation came from the aforementioned Los Angeles-based Donfeld on Jan. 22, 2016, a few months before, as Bloomberg reported, he and Rogers left the firm. Kasich’s $2,700 donation came from Bessent on Oct. 24, 2015. Bush’s $2,700 donation came on July 24, 2015, from David Murphy of Soros Fund Management. Murphy, according to his LinkedIN page, is a current “portfolio manager” at the firm.
Kasich’s spokesman Chris Schrimpf did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Bush’s spokeswoman Kristy Campbell.
A spokesman for Rubio, Matt Wolking, vociferously defended the senator, calling this story in Breitbart News—without having read it because it wasn’t written until long after he responded to inquiries about this matter—a “fake” story since Rubio didn’t get donations directly from George Soros himself and since hedge funds as companies cannot make donations to federal candidates. Breitbart News never alleged that Rubio did get donations directly from George Soros himself, but was inquiring with Rubio’s staff if the senator had a comment on why he did take donations from an executive at George Soros’s hedge fund. That fact, that Rubio did take cash from a Soros Fund Management executive—and that that fund was founded by George Soros—is not something Wolking, on Rubio’s behalf, challenges. So what his team is doing is creating a straw man argument to falsely claim this story is “fake.”
“This story is a fake,” Wolking told Breitbart News. “Senator Rubio has never received any contribution from George Soros. And he has never received any contribution from the Soros company because, among other things, companies can’t donate to federal candidates.”
But more importantly, a Rubio spokesman did admit that the FEC filing is correct—that Rubio took a $2,700 donation from Donfeld. The Rubio spokesman argues that Donfeld donated “almost exclusively” to GOP candidates over the years—which is mostly true, as Donfeld has given to people like Ryan, Rubio, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), and 2012 GOP Ohio Senate nominee Josh Mandel, among others. But Donfeld, whom the Rubio spokesman points out and as Breitbart News mentioned earlier in this piece, left the Soros firm after making this donation to Rubio, has donated to Democrats like Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), and a failed Democratic congressional candidate in Arizona’s 9th congressional district in 2012, Andrei Cherny.
Anti-Trump Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a failed one-time GOP presidential nominee from 2008, got $2,500 from an executive at the Soros firm, while Boehner—who resigned amid a coup from conservatives—raked in $2,600 from an executive at the Soros firm.
McCain’s $2,500 this cycle came from Donfeld of Soros Fund Management on Sept. 23, 2015. In previous cycles, McCain has taken cash directly from George Soros himself—a $1,000 donation on June 2, 1999—and from others with the firm, including a $1,000 donation from Bessent on March 13, 2000, a $2,300 donation from Soros Fund Management’s Michael Au on Dec. 27, 2007, a $1,000 donation from Duncan Hennes of Soros Fund Management on March 13, 2000, and a $2,300 donation from Soros Fund Management’s Joshua Berkowitz on Jan. 15, 2008. McCain’s spokeswoman, Julie Tarallo, has not responded to multiple requests for comment from Breitbart News.
Boehner’s $2,600 donation this cycle came from Bessent of Soros Fund Management on Feb. 12, 2015. The media relations department at Reynolds American, the tobacco company of which Boehner joined the board after resigning from Congress in 2015, has not responded to a request for comment on his behalf.
Now former Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV), the 2016 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Nevada who lost his election after he withdrew his endorsement of Trump in the general election, also received $2,500 from an executive at Soros Fund Management, while Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)—a “Never Trump” congressman who voted for a third-party candidate because he refused to support the GOP nominee for president—received $1,000 from an executive at the Soros family firm.
Heck’s $2,500 donation on Sept. 29, 2016, came from Soros Fund Management’s Sender Cohen. According to the Israel on Campus Coalition, another organization for which Sender Cohen serves as director, he is a “Portfolio Manager, the Director of Research and member of the Management Committee at Soros Fund Management.” Heck’s spokesman from the campaign has not responded to a request for comment on Monday.
Curbelo’s $1,000 donation came on June 5, 2015, from Paul Sohn, a former executive with Soros Fund Management. Sohn had already left the firm earlier in the year, as it was reported on CNBC in January 2015 that Sohn had left Soros Fund Management after his involvement in a controversial investment. That is months before he reported on this June 2015 Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing for this Curbelo donation that his employer was Soros Fund Management. A Curbelo spokeswoman has not responded to a request for comment.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the House GOP conference chairwoman, got $1,000 from an official with Soros Fund Management. The independent and wildly unsuccessful general election candidate Evan McMullin—whom Trump has called “McMuffin” in jest after his failure—is a former staffer of hers. McMullin, who turned out to fail fantastically on election day despite media fanfare about his candidacy, was previously a McMorris Rodgers staffer as chief policy director for nearly two years in the House GOP conference before his whimsical bid at the presidency that went nowhere and had essentially zero impact on the race. Rodgers’ $1,000 donation this cycle came from Alexander Cohen of Soros Fund Management on March 13, 2015.
“The Congresswoman receives thousands of donations from individuals in Washington State and across the country who believe in her mission to restore the people’s voice in government,” a spokesman for McMorris Rodgers told Breitbart News.
The spokesman also says that McMorris Rodgers has no responsibility for McMullin, and cut ties with him as soon as media outlets reported his intention to run as an independent against Trump.
“The House Republican Conference has zero knowledge of his intentions,” a McMorris Rodgers spokesman said when McMullin launched his bid.
The only few Republicans who received Soros Fund Management cash but did support Trump were Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY), and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA). Royce received $2,500 from the firm, Johnson and Grassley each received $1,000, and Donovan received $300. Johnson’s $1,000 donation came on April 15, 2016, from Alexander Cohen of Soros Fund Management, as did Grassley’s, which came on Oct. 13, 2015. Donovan’s $300 donation came from Christopher Rich of Soros Fund Management on April 20, 2015. Royce’s $2,500 donation came from Sender Cohen of Soros Fund Management on March 31, 2016. Spokespersons for Johnson, Donovan and Royce have not responded to Breitbart News’s requests for comment. A spokesperson for Grassley did not have a comment.