Boston hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman lavished more than $7 million on Republican candidates and political committees during the Obama administration, using his fortune to help underwrite a GOP takeover of the federal government.
But the rise of Donald Trump shocked and dismayed Klarman, as did the timid response from the Republican-controlled House and #Senate, which have acquiesced rather than challenge the president’s erratic and divisive ways. So, in an astonishing flip, Klarman, at one point New England’s most generous donor to Republicans, is taking his money elsewhere: He’s heaping cash on Democrats.
He’s given roughly $222,000 since the 2016 election to 78 Democrats running for Congress, according to federal election data from 2017 and a preview of Klarman’s first-quarter donations provided to the Globe by a person familiar with his giving.
“The Republicans in Congress have failed to hold the president accountable and have abandoned their historic beliefs and values,” Klarman said in a prepared statement to the Globe, opening up for the first time about the reasons behind his change in political giving. “For the good of the country, the Democrats must take back one or both houses of Congress.”
Klarman said he’s financing his new political donations using his share of the $1.5 trillion tax cut Trump signed into law late last year.
“I received a tax cut I neither need nor want,” said Klarman, who Forbes estimates is worth $1.5 billion. “I’m choosing to invest it to fight the administration’s flawed policies and to elect Democrats to the Senate and House of Representatives.”
His money has been spread out to Democrats running for 56 House seats and 22 Senate contests, including checks to Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, and Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Klarman plans to continue writing checks, according to the person familiar with his giving.