In Romney's Super Pac, the Hedge Fund Mavens Come Out to Play

PHOTO: Paul Singer, right, has a conversation with GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, left, during a forum of the Foreign Policy Initiative.

The Super Pac that's been working to get Mitt Romney the GOP nomination raised $30 million last year, and 10 percent of it came from just three guys who run hedge funds in New York City.

Paul Singer, Robert Mercer and Julian Robertson each donated $1 million to the Super Pac Restore Our Future, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in support of Romney. They are the top donors to the group; two other wealthy donors, John Paulson and Edward Conard, were already reported to have given $1 million each as well.

The Super Pac is the ideal body of influence for these benefactors. When candidates raise money for their campaigns, the most cash they can take from a supporter is $2,500 (for the primary election and then for a general election, or $5,000 total). But because those rules don't apply to Super Pacs, created in the aftermath of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, they can solicit giant donations from rich people.

Enter Singer, Mercer and Robertson, all of whom didn't want to comment for this story or said they were too busy to do so.

Singer, the founder of the hedge fund Elliott Management, gave his million to the Pac in the middle of October. Described by associates as a good-humored billionaire with libertarian leanings, Singer was instrumental in the New York effort to allow gays to marry. His gay son married his partner in Massachusetts, where Romney was governor.

"This is not someone who believes in these issues in spite of being conservative," said Ken Mehlman, a former Republican National Committee chairman and re-election campaign manager for George W. Bush, who came out as gay in 2010, worked with Singer on the marriage effort and saw Singer as recently as a couple of weeks ago. "He believes in it because he's a conservative."

Mercer, the head of the giant hedge fund Renaissance Technologies Corp., was briefly in the news before the 2010 midterm elections when Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio accused him of funding anonymous attack ads against the Oregonian. Financial disclosure documents later confirmed that Mercer had donated to the group that ran the ads.

Mercer, who made his $1 million contribution to the pro-Romney Super Pac in late July, declined, through spokesman Jonathan Gasthalter, to comment on the donation.

And Julian Robertson, whose office said he was traveling through March and was unavailable to talk, was called the "wizard of Wall Street" as he grew his hedge fund, Tiger Management, to become the biggest in the world. Robertson, who sent his million to the pro-Romney Super Pac in late November, is said to be worth $2.4 billion.

Restore Our Future is also getting loads of help from other "free enterprise" masters — such as hedge fund manager Chris Shumway ($750,000), private-equity firm chairman Miguel Fernandez ($500,000), and private-equity firm co-CEO Steven Webster ($500,000) — whose donations were disclosed Tuesday night hours before a deadline.

Romney's friends at the private-equity firm Bain Capital, which he founded, are also helping out. The Super Pac got $250,000 from an "investment professional," $250,000 from someone in "investment management" and $125,000 from a "managing director," according to the FEC filings.

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