Hedge fund management can make all the difference in a fund’s performance but it can also have an effect in the political arena, as in the case of Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies fund. It shifted to the right after Simons stepped down as CEO.
Jim Simons, Democrat Supporter
Jim Simons founded Renaissance Technologies, a fund dedicated to using complicated mathematical models to make calculated investing decisions. Simons was every successful and grew his fund to a portfolio value worth billions. Through all this, Simons was a Democrat and actively supported Democrat campaigns, from President Obama’s presidential bid to Democratic Senate and Congressional election campaigns according to Muckety. When Simons stepped down as CEO last year, he was succeeded by co-chief executives Peter Brown and Bob Mercer. Muckety notes that Simons still “continues to funnel his contributions to Democrats.”
Bob Mercer Leans Right
Bob Mercer, a relative unknown political supporter before this, has since become very politically motivated. Muckety reports, “His soft money contributions have totalled more than $700,000 since September 2010. In August, he gave $100,000 to the conservative Club for Growth Action PAC.” The article continues to note that in January that Mercer almost single-handedly financed an ad campaign opposing construction of an Islamic center in lower Manhattan.” The article continues, “He was also a big donor to Concerned Taxpayers of America, a group that ran ads last fall against Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon. DeFazio has supported transaction taxes and increases in capital gains taxes – two measures that would cut into Renaissance Tech’s profits.”