Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kenneth Griffin of Citadel Helps Fill Coffers of Rove's Political Group

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By Jonathan D. Salant and Traci McMillan

Kenneth Griffin, chief executive of Citadel Investment Group LLC, and his wife Anne each contributed $250,000 to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads fundraising group, new Federal Election Commission reports show.

Griffin, who runs the $12.5 billion hedge fund based in Chicago, called the U.S. government’s role in the financial system “frightening” at an April 2009 conference. His wife is managing partner of Aragon Global Management LLC, also based in Chicago.

American Crossroads took in $3.8 million between Oct. 14 and Nov. 22, including $250,000 from Thomas Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems Inc. and now chairman of Palo Alto, California- based First Virtual Group; and $950,000 from B. Wayne Hughes, chairman of Glendale, California-based Public Storage, bringing his total contributions to the group to $3.3 million.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has subpoenaed Citadel as part of an investigation into insider trading, the Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 23.

Griffin also gave $650,000 to the Republican Governors Association, including $150,000 on Oct. 11, Internal Revenue Service filings show.

Devon Spurgeon, a spokeswoman for Citadel, declined comment.

$71 Million

American Crossroads, which discloses its donors, and its affiliate, Crossroads GPS, which doesn’t, raised $71 million for the 2010 elections, according to Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for both groups. American Crossroads is the biggest of the so- called “super” political action committees, which can take in unlimited donations from corporations, unions and individuals.

The Crossroads groups spent $38 million, more than any other organization, to help elect Republican candidates in this year’s mid-term elections. Both groups were advised by Rove, former President George W. Bush’s chief political strategist.

The elections resulted in a Republican net gain of six governorships, six Senate seats and at least 63 House seats, with a race still undecided in a New York district. Republicans will control the House in the new Congress that convenes in early January and control 47 seats in the 100-member Senate.

The Crossroads groups plan to remain active on issues such as taxes and health care, Collegio said.

Concerned Taxpayers

Another Republican super PAC, Concerned Taxpayers of America, took in $307,500 between Oct. 14 and Nov. 22, all but $30,000 from Robert Mercer, co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies Corp., an East Setauket, New York, hedge fund. The PAC raised $957,500 for the elections, with $627,500 coming from Mercer. Concerned Taxpayers spent $789,452, all on House races.

Labor unions were the biggest contributors to Democratic super PACs in the campaign’s last three weeks. The National Education Association contributed $400,000 and the Service Employees International Union gave $250,000 to Commonsense Ten, a Washington-based group run by Democratic strategists.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees contributed $300,000 to Patriot Majority, which aired advertisements in support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Nevada Democrat defeated Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle Nov. 2.

The trial lawyers’ trade group, the American Association for Justice, gave $325,000 to Commonsense Ten, increasing its total donations to the PAC to $575,000.

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