In the waning days of the campaign, a political action committee founded by Wall Street hedge-fund billionaire and longtime Republican donor Paul Singer has made good on its promise to spend big for GOP congressional candidate Carl DeMaio against Democratic freshman Scott Peters.
American Unity PAC, dedicated to "protecting and promoting candidates for U.S. House and U.S. Senate who support freedom for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation," according to its website, has so far plunked down $93,266 at NBC affiliate KNSD and $59,660 at KUSI for a total of 155 thirty-second spots running through election day, federal filings show.
The broadcast advertisement, posted on the PAC's website, makes no mention of gay issues but instead attacks Peters, alleging he "nearly bankrupted city government."
A longtime Republican fundraiser, Singer, who runs Elliott Capital, was a member of the high-dollar "Pioneers" big-money group behind George W. Bush and backed ex–New York mayor Rudy Giuliani’s exploratory bid for the presidency.
A year ago, the Washington Post reported that some wealthy GOP donors were "trying to push the party toward a more welcoming middle ground" on gay issues.
"The behind-the-scenes effort is being led largely by GOP mega-donor Paul Singer, a hedge fund executive whose son is gay, and former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, who revealed his homosexuality in 2010, long after he had left the GOP leadership," according to the Post.
In a profile of Singer this April, the paper reported, "Because Singer, notoriously private and press-shy, has taken on a more public role with his support of LGBT rights, it might seem as if his other political investments have waned.
"But it would be a mistake to think that. At the end of last year, he continued his support for traditional Republican politicians, co-hosting a fundraiser for three GOP Senate candidates: U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Dan Sullivan of Alaska and U.S. Rep. Steve Daines of Montana. The event raised $600,000. Singer has also donated to U.S. Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas.
"Many people have strong, complicated views about Singer. On the left, he has been criticized for his financial strategy and his enormous political donations, although liberal LGBT rights activists also realize the power he has to push change on their issue.
"On the right, those affiliated with anti-gay-marriage organizations have had no qualms about criticizing Singer's attempts to advance LGBT rights in the Republican Party. Bryan Fischer at the American Family Association told Business Insider in 2012, 'Here you have a super PAC that is working to chop the legs off the Republican Party platform.'"
According to a tally of federal financial disclosure data posted by OpenSecrets.org, so far during this campaign cycle, America Unity has total receipts of $6,130,748.
Singer gave more than $2,750,000. The second largest contributions were $1 million each from Seth Klarman of the Ballpost Group, LLC, another billionaire investor, and Daniel S. Loeb of Third Point, LLC. Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management came up with $300,000.
Billionaire Loeb was once a major supporter of Barack Obama but later turned against him for trying to police Wall Street banks, according to an August 2010 write-up by the New York Times.
“Washington has taken actions over the past months, like the Goldman suit that seem designed to fracture the populace by pulling capital and power from the hands of some and putting it in the hands of others,” he said in a letter to his well-heeled investors.