Brittney Chew / Sun File Photo

Seth Klarman ’79, the Klarman Hall namesake, donated over $5 million this election cycle, mostly to Democratic candidates.

October 1, 2020

Billionaire Seth Klarman ’79 Bankrolls Democrats Nationwide

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Klarman Hall’s namesake is spending big on politics. This election cycle, Seth Klarman ’79 donated over $5 million, mostly to Democratic candidates.

According to Federal Election Commission filings, the billionaire alumnus has spent $5,671,100 in backing individual candidates and political action committees across the nation in the time since the 2018 midterm election.

Klarman is the portfolio manager and CEO of the Baupost Group, a hedge fund that manages about $28 billion. In 2017, The New York Times described Klarman as the “most successful and influential investor you have probably never heard of.”

Klarman has donated significant sums of money to national PACs supporting Democrats. Since 2018, he’s made million-dollar contributions to the House Majority PAC, Priorities USA Action, the Senate Majority PAC and to American Unity.

Klarman also donated $1.5 million to Pacronym, a media company involved in the vote-counting app blamed for February’s Iowa Caucus result delays, The Sun previously reported.

Klarman’s hedge fund has also attracted controversy on campus in the past. In March 2018, the Student Assembly urged the University to divest its endowment holdings from the hedge fund because the group owned $1 billion in Puerto Rican debt. President Pollack ultimately rejected the S.A.’s resolution.

Across the nation, Klarman has maxed out on dozens of individual Democratic candidate campaigns, many of whom are challenging politicians he once supported.

But it wasn’t always this way: Klarman was once one of the biggest donors to Republican candidates. But since 2016, he has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and has shifted his support away from the GOP, now giving money to only a handful of individual Republicans.

In 2014, Klarman donated $1,000 to Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-Ak.) run for U.S. Senate. But this year, he donated $5,600 to Al Gross, an independent running against Sullivan with the backing of the Democratic Party.

The FEC bars donors from surpassing $2,800 in donations for a given candidate in each election campaign. Klarman has given twice this value by donating to both the candidate’s primary and general campaigns.

In the 2018 midterm election cycle, Klarman spent over $3 million to support Democrats, The Sun previously reported. Over the 8-year Obama administration Klarman donated over $7 million.