||Corey Booker at the
2012 Democratic National Convention.
Baupost Group founder Seth Klarman lives and works
in Massachusetts, but he's a lead financial supporter of Cory
Booker's bid to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.
Klarman gave $100,000 on July 24 to The
Mobilization Project, a super political action committee that
supports Booker, currently the Democratic mayor of Newark. The
primary election is today, and Booker is the favorite.
The new disclosure is not Klarman's first donation
to boost Booker. In May, he hosted a luncheon fundraiser for
the politician with chief risk officer Scott Nathan at
Baupost's Boston offices. Tickets cost between $1,000 and
$5,200, according to an invitation cached on the Booker campaign website.
And the billionaire value investor gave $10,000 to CoryPAC, another political action
committee supporting Booker.
CoryPAC is also supported by former hedge fund manager
Michael Steinhardt. Like Klarman, Steinhardt is Jewish and an
Israel advocate. Booker is also pro-Israel and one of his main
policy positions is to support the Jewish state by preventing
Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. "A nuclear-armed Iran is
plainly unacceptable. It would pose serious threats to American
interests and to our allies, particularly Israel," states the
Booker campaign website.
Klarman and Steinhardt aren't the only hedge fund
managers behind Booker. Firms supporting the former Rhodes
Scholar's run include David Greenspan's Slate Path Capital
($23,400 in contributions) and Rick Gerson's Falcon Edge
Capital ($15,000 worth of donations), according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And the
principals of $15 million hedge fund Eagle Capital Management,
Ravenel Curry III and Ravenel Curry IV, each gave $500,000 to
The Mobilization Project, according to a public filing (for more on other Booker donors,
see this Center for Public Integrity report).
Baupost employees have given about $3.4 million to
political campaigns since 1990, according to an analysis by the
Center for Responsive Politics (Baupost doesn't make
contributions as a firm). Donations generally favored Democrats
until the 2012 election cycle, when staffers gave
at least $83,000 to support Republican presidential nominee
Klarman hasn't always supported Democrats in
previous elections. He gave money to Republican Senator Mitch
McConnell in 2002, 2007 and 2008 ($4,300); Republican U.S.
Representative Eric Cantor in 2009 ($2,400); and the National
Republican Senatorial Committee in 2009 ($30,400).
But Klarman has given more than $100,000 to regular
political action committees in recent years, according to Federal Election Commission records, and many
donations have gone to Democrats. Among them were New York
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2011 ($1,000), Montana Senator
Jon Tester in 2012 ($1,000) and the Massachusetts Democratic
State Committee Federal Fund in 2010 ($5,000).
Diana DeSocio, a spokeswoman for Baupost, declined
to comment on behalf of Klarman.