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Griffen wants to be the GOP's top donor. How much more does Soros give?

First off, a tip of my hat to Griffin for trying to positively move the dial. And to Soros for promoting my hero Yosef Stalin. BTW the way for every political dollar Griffin has given this year Soros has donated over 4.


Citadel’s Griffin Rises as Top GOP Donor, Urges Business Leaders to Join Him

Billionaire is among leading donors behind groups looking to boost prospects of Republicans winning control of Congress this year


Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of the hedge fund Citadel, has provided increasingly large amounts of money to Republicans in recent years.


By John McCormick, WSJ

Apr. 15, 2022 5:00 am ET


CHICAGO—Hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin is raising his total investment in this year’s midterm congressional elections to roughly $40 million and calling on American business leaders to become more involved in politics.


Day to day, the Citadel founder is either the first- or second-biggest individual donor to outside spending groups on the Republican side for federal races this election cycle, according to rankings by the nonpartisan OpenSecrets watchdog group, making him a top force behind the GOP’s drive to retake Congress in November.


Mr. Griffin gave $18.25 million to five groups promoting conservative candidates, aides to Mr. Griffin told The Wall Street Journal, ahead of the Friday deadline for committees to file first-quarter disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission. His single biggest gift was $7.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, the super political-action committee associated with House Republicans.



In an interview in his corporate headquarters overlooking Lake Michigan and Chicago’s skyline, Mr. Griffin said more U.S. business leaders need to become involved in politics, even if it risks alienating customers, employees or shareholders at a time of deep division.


“Too many of America’s business leaders stay out of politics today,” he said. “They have to be engaged because they understand the ramification of policy decisions: I’m building a business; I’m running a factory; I’m creating jobs. They just can’t continue to be silent.”


Asked about the risks of angering half of a company’s customers, Mr. Griffin, whose firm has less of a retail presence than many, responded by calling for bipartisanship.


“Pick people from both sides who represent the values that we need as a nation to move forward,” he said. “Some of the most senior partners at Citadel are big supporters of Democrats, and they support people who I think have an important voice in the dialogue in America. The debate between our two parties is where we will find the right common ground.”


Mr. Griffin called on Republicans to move past questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election, urged both political parties to find younger 2024 presidential nominees and discussed his own potential interest in elected office or a national role like Treasury Secretary.


States are drawing new congressional district maps for the House of Representatives that could determine control of Congress. This undertaking is proving to be highly politicized, but as WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains, the process can be reshaped. Photo illustration: Todd Johnson

While smaller-dollar, online contributors make up an increasing share of candidate fundraising—especially in presidential races—donors like Mr. Griffin remain central to the funding of outside groups responsible for a large share of political advertising.


His contributions to federal candidates and causes have grown with each two-year election cycle, from less than $1 million in 2009-2010 to $67 million in 2019-2020, a presidential election cycle, according to OpenSecrets data.


Ken Griffin said teacher unions have become an ‘impediment to student outcomes,’ but also suggested better pay was a good idea; a teacher protest in January in Chicago.


He attributed the growth to a variety of factors, including his belief that cities such as Chicago have lost ground controlling crime and providing an education system that can prepare America’s children for global competition.


“Nothing is more important to the future of America than a robust nursery through high school, and then a system of higher education,” Mr. Griffin said. “A huge part of my shift towards being more involved in politics has been watching federal and state policies undermine access to the American Dream.”




Top individual donors to groups that must disclose and can accept unlimited contributions, including super political action committees.


Source: OpenSecrets.org (as of March 21)


Mr. Griffin said teacher unions have become an “impediment to student outcomes,” but he also suggested better pay and the portability of retirement benefits so teachers can more easily move into other professions if they get tired of the classroom.


Unlike some top political donors, Mr. Griffin remains little known outside the investment world, where he began his career as an undergraduate by persuading Harvard University officials to let him install a satellite dish so he could receive faster market prices in his dorm room.


Ken Griffin said reasons behind his growing contributions to federal political candidates included a belief that cities such as Chicago have lost ground controlling crime.


At 53 years old, he is on the younger side among top political donors, who are more commonly in their 60s, 70s and 80s. Democratic donor George Soros of New York is 91, while Republican donor Richard Uihlein of Illinois is 76.


Congressional candidates, committees and parties are required to file disclosure reports with the Federal Election Commission by Friday night, and those records are certain to contain numerous additional contributions from Mr. Griffin to individual candidates.


Besides his donation to the Congressional Leadership Fund, aides to Mr. Griffin said he gave $5 million during the quarter to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.).


He sent seven-figure checks to American Patriots PAC and Winning for Women Action Fund, separate groups seeking to elect conservative veterans and women.


Mr. Griffin is also investing heavily in the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania. He added $2.5 million to the $5 million he had previously given to Honor Pennsylvania, a super PAC backing Republican David McCormick, the former chief executive of hedge-fund giant Bridgewater Associates. Mr. Griffin is at odds with former President Donald Trump, who last weekend threw his support behind celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz, widely known as Dr. Oz.


Mr. Griffin said he disagreed with Mr. Trump’s continued false allegations of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.


“It’s time that we move on as a country,” he said, adding that he supports greater transparency in the nation’s voting systems and a nationwide requirement for voters to present photo identification when voting. “It’s really important that we end the rhetoric in America that elections can be rigged.”


While he has both praised and criticized Mr. Trump, Mr. Griffin said he doesn’t want to see the former president run again in 2024. Some of his contributions in the current election cycle aim to bring new blood into the party, including more women and minorities.


“For both parties, I think it’s time we look to the next generation,” he said of the still unformed 2024 presidential field.




Top individual donors to groups that must disclose and can accept unlimited contributions, including super political action committees.


OpenSecrets.org (as of March 21)


A Florida native, Mr. Griffin praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis when asked about potential future national GOP leaders. He gave $5 million last year to a PAC associated with Mr. DeSantis.


Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a moderate Democrat who has blocked some of President Biden’s legislative efforts, also won plaudits. “You gotta give Joe Manchin huge credit over the course of the last 18 months for first and foremost insisting on us doing real analysis and having a real debate on the merits of the issues,” he said.


While most of his campaign contributions have been to Republicans and conservative causes, Mr. Griffin has donated to some Democrats, including more recently to New York Mayor Eric Adams.


Asked about running for office, Mr. Griffin said his plate is currently full. “I would like to think that at some point in my life, I will have that opportunity to be involved in public service,” he said.


Mr. Griffin, the wealthiest person in Illinois, has an estimated worth of $30.5 billion and is among the world’s top 50 wealthiest, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Late last year, he won a $43.2 million first-edition copy of the U.S. Constitution at auction and plans to put it on display at public venues nationwide.


SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

What’s your outlook for Citadel under Ken Griffin’s leadership? Join the conversation below.


Besides his investments in federal elections, Mr. Griffin is also expected to spend heavily this year to try to block a fellow billionaire, Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, from winning a second term. He has already contributed $20 million to the campaign of Richard Irvin, a Republican mayor of a Chicago suburb.


Mr. Griffin and Mr. Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune and the brother of former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, have had a running feud in recent years, lately over rising violence in Chicago.


“I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work,” Mr. Griffin said of Chicago. “That’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city.”


Write to John McCormick at mccormick.john@wsj.com

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