By Alistair Barr, MarketWatch
The head of hedge-fund firm SAC Capital Advisors, Steve Cohen, held a strategy session earlier this week at his home to discuss how the Republican Party can win the midterm elections, industry publication AR magazine reported Friday.
Attendees at the Tuesday evening meeting in Greenwich, Conn., included Paul Singer of Elliott Management; Daniel Senor of Rosemont Capital; and Bruce Kovner of Caxton Associates, the magazine said, citing an unidentified person familiar with the event.
A spokesman for SAC didn't return a telephone message seeking comment on Friday. Representatives at Elliott and Caxton declined to comment. MarketWatch was unable to reach a representative at Rosemont.
Hedge-fund managers donated more money to Democrats during the last presidential election, but the $1.8 trillion industry may be switching its allegiance to the Republican Party now, AR reported.
SAC gave 93% of its 2010 election-cycle donations to Republicans through Aug. 1, the magazine said, citing data from the Center for Responsive Politics. During the 2008 election cycle, SAC gave 71% to Democrats.
At the meeting on Tuesday evening at Cohen's home, several GOP operatives discussed with large donors how best to deploy campaign contributions and other support so that Republican candidates can win in this year's midterm elections, according to AR.
In contrast to Cohen, Singer and Senor are longtime supporters of conservative causes, the magazine noted.
Singer -- head of Elliot Management, a $16 billion firm -- is one of the largest contributors to the Republican Party from the hedge-fund industry. He was a major supporter of Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign. Singer also gave $1.5 million to the Progress for America Voter Fund, which advocated for policies of the George W. Bush administration.
Still, Singer happens to be hosting a fund-raiser in support of gay marriage at his New York City home on Sept. 22, according to AR. Singer and Clarium Capital manager Peter Thiel will co-chair the $5,000-per-person event with Ken Mehlman, former head of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign who recently announced he's gay, the magazine said.
Mary Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Margaret Hoover, great-granddaughter of Herbert Hoover, will co-host the event, AR added.
Elliott started out as a convertible-arbitrage fund, but after the 1987 market crash Singer's focus shifted to distressed debt. This strategy involves buying bonds and other securities of troubled companies, then selling at a profit later when they either recover or reorganize in bankruptcy. See earlier story on Elliott.
In an October 2009 letter to investors, Singer also knocked former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and the current chairman, Ben Bernanke, calling the U.S. central bank "an utter failure."
"'Helicopter Ben' Bernanke is now our albatross for another interminable period of time, during which we will be forced to listen to a man whose contribution to the amusement of the cackling class of the early 21st century is his fantastic insight that, if necessary, money can be simply printed and dropped from helicopters to prevent another depressionary deflation," he wrote. Read more about the Fed and Bernanke at the Jackson Hole, Wyo., policy retreat.
Senor, who co-founded Rosemont and used to work at private-equity firm Carlyle Group, served in Iraq as a senior adviser and chief spokesman for the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003 and 2004.
He also served as an aid to Central Command in Qatar and as a foreign-policy and communications adviser in the U.S. Senate, according to Rosemont's Web site.
Caxton's Kovner, who drove a cab in New York City before getting hooked on commodities trading, was named to Alpha magazine's hedge-fund hall of fame in 2008. (Alpha merged with Absolute Return magazine in the wake of the financial crisis, creating AR.)
(from MarketWatch, August 27, 2010)
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