Hedge-fund managers in many instances wrote five- or six-figure donations, taking advantage of loosened restrictions on giving that followed a pivotal Supreme Court ruling. The private investment firm Dalea Partners, for instance, helped bankroll the First Amendment Alliance with a $250,000 donation. The alliance, in turn, spent $1.3 million on advertising that attacked such Democratic candidates as Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, who won, and Kentucky candidate Jack Conway, who lost.
A spokesman with Dalea Partners, Joe Cusimano, declined to comment on the reasons behind the company's contributions.
Lobbyists in Washington and members of congress have engaged in a pitched battle over the way hedge-fund managers are taxed. In May, the Democrats leading the House helped push through legislation aimed at changing the way taxes are calculated on the portion of investment fund gains that are turned over to fund managers as compensation.
Rep. Tim Bishop, D - New York, voted for the measure. He then faced $360,000 in advertising financed by another conservative super PAC, called Alliance for America's Future. The ads attacked Bishop and supported his GOP opponent, former hedge-fund executive Randy Altschuler. That race, which was too close to call on election day, is among the few remaining undecided races from the 2010 mid terms.