Rand Paul Has a (Very) Rich Friend in Philadelphia
If Kentucky senator Rand Paul somehow makes it all the way to the Oval Office — though the prospects of that are looking a bit slimmer than they were not long ago — we know one guy who will probably have a direct line to the big desk: Jeff Yass, the mysterious super-rich man behind Bala Cynwyd’s almost equally mysterious Susquehanna International Group.
Yass, who infamously backed Tony Williams‘ doomed mayoral bid earlier this year, has put up $2.25 million of his own money in a series of contributions to three different Rand Paul super PACs. Yass doled out $250,000 to Concerned American Voters and $1 million each to America’s Liberty PAC and Purple PAC, the latter of which also saw $25,000 from Manhattan real estate investor Howard Rich, who currently lives in Philadelphia.
In total, the three Rand Paul super PACs took in $6 million in the first half of 2015, according to recent federal disclosures, meaning that more than 40 percent of the amount raised came right out of Yass’ deep pockets. Yass also gave $250,000 to Purple PAC in 2013.
Unlike the candidates themselves, who are subject to strict limits on how much they can accept from an individual, the controversial super PACs can take as much of the so-called “soft money” as they want from whomever they want, with the catch that they’re not allowed to spend that money at the direction of the campaign. Super PAC cash is usually spent on pricey negative television ads, which we’re guessing will soon be about as plentiful as Law & Order reruns.
In addition to being Paul’s biggest individual supporter, Yass is also the largest local spender overall in the soft money category. By far.
Gladwyne’s Greg Segall of Versa Capital Management has pumped $150,000 into the Jeb Bush super PAC Right to Rise, which also received $10,000 from Discovery Capital chairman John McNiff, and $5,000 each from Center City law firm Dilworth Paxson, longtime behind-the-scenes dealmaker Manny Stamatakis, CDI Corporation CEO Scott Friedheim, and Duane Morris partner Steven Friedman, among others.
In June, Main Line businessman Vahan Gureghian, who lives in one of the largest houses in the region, handed over $50,000 to America Leads, the super PAC supporting New Jersey governor Chris Christie‘s bid for the White House. The super PAC received half that much from O’Neill Properties Group (the company founded by developer Brian O’Neill) and University City engineering firm Pennoni Associates.
Other notable contributions include $25,000 from investor, philanthropist and arts patron Richard Vague to a Pat Toomey-connected PAC and $5,000 from Haverford women’s rights activist Wendy Wolf to Planned Parenthood Votes. In total, Pennsylvanians contributed $4.6 million in soft money since the beginning of 2015.
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