Robert Mercer- Bannon Patron- Is Leaving Helm of $50 Billion Hedge Fund – The New York Times

“Robert Mercer, a billionaire investor and top financial backer of conservative causes, is stepping down as co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies, as the giant hedge fund faces a backlash from some clients who resent Mr. Mercer’s embrace of polarizing political figures.

Discomfort with Mr. Mercer’s political activism — including protests aimed at university endowments, foundations and pension funds with money invested in Renaissance — has showed signs of taking a small but growing toll. The retirement fund for Baltimore’s police and firefighters, for example, last week asked that all of the $33 million it had invested in Renaissance be refunded, said David A. Randall, the retirement fund’s deputy executive director.

The Baltimore fund had been contacted by a local reporter about whether the pension was bothered by Mr. Mercer’s political activities. Seeking to avoid bad publicity, the pension’s directors convened an emergency conference call and decided to pull their money.”

David Lindsay:
It is not a complete coincidence that we learn today that the new Republican tax plan fails to raise the tax rate on hedge fund billionaires from the 20% capital gains rate to the 39.6% rate that is supposed to be for our richest citizens.

The comments at NYTimes.com are enlightening, such as:

SJM

Florida 20 hours ago

Some believe, including HRC, that the Mercers were instrumental in providing sophisticated social research that identified hot button issues of controversy among select voters in key electoral districts. This “research” focused on wedges in the community: immigration, policing, racial divides, etc. Some also believe that this social trending may have “fallen” into the hands of Russian hackers and misinformation specialists. The connection is Mueller’s to make, but could be part of Mr. Mercer’s resignations.

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Dysfunction and Deadlock at the Federal Election Commission – The New York Times

“Nearly three years ago, during my tenure as vice chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission, I wrote in this newspaper that my own agency was failing to enforce campaign finance laws. My efforts to cooperate with the other commissioners to fulfill the agency’s mission had been thwarted, revealing an unfortunate truth: The F.E.C. was betraying the American public and jeopardizing our democracy.

It pains me to report that the agency remains dysfunctional, more so than ever, as I prepare to depart at the end of this month as my term nears its end. This is deeply worrisome, because the F.E.C.’s mission is to ensure fairness in elections. One of its core responsibilities is to make sure that all money in political campaigns is disclosed. As Justice Louis Brandeis said, sunlight is “the best of disinfectants.” This quotation graces the street-facing window of the F.E.C.

Unfortunately, a controlling bloc of three Republican commissioners who are ideologically opposed to the F.E.C.’s purpose regularly ignores violations or drastically reduces penalties. The resulting paralysis has allowed over $800 million in “dark money” to infect our elections since Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums to elect or defeat candidates.”