Romney PAC Attracts New Jewish Donors

Hedge Fund Managers and Developers Top List of Supporters

Deep Pockets: Some top Jewish donors to Mitt Romney’s super PAC have deep roots in the GOP. But many appear to be comparative newcomers to Republican politics.
getty images
Deep Pockets: Some top Jewish donors to Mitt Romney’s super PAC have deep roots in the GOP. But many appear to be comparative newcomers to Republican politics.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published March 12, 2012, issue of March 16, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

A small group of Jewish private equity investors, hedge fund managers and real estate developers are playing an outsized role in Republican hopeful Mitt Romney’s fundraising efforts.

Top Jewish donors account for more than 10% of the $36 million raised by Romney’s super PAC.

While Romney has long been the consensus pick of establishment Jewish Republicans, many of the super PAC’s biggest Jewish givers are outside that establishment group. A few have hardly any history of Republican giving, and some gave thousands in individual donations to the Obama campaign in 2008.

Bruce Kovner
Bruce Kovner

“It sounds like these guys, they have a personal vested interest in making sure [Obama] gets beat,” said Fred Zeidman, a prominent fundraiser for the Romney campaign, of the Jewish super PAC donors in the financial services industry.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Romney’s super PAC, called Restore Our Future, has spent $30 million campaigning against Romney’s opponents and $900,000 in support of the former Massachusetts governor.

Created in 2010 by a series of judicial rulings, super PACs differ from traditional political action committees in that federal regulations don’t limit the amount donors can contribute. While a super PAC cannot formally coordinate its activities with a candidate, it can explicitly support a particular one. So while individual donors were previously limited to giving their candidate a few thousand dollars in an election year, now they can give as much as they want.

The emergence of super PACs in the 2012 presidential race has changed the way in which money and influence work. Big political moneymen previously raised funds from friends and colleagues. While the campaigns still maintain their networks of fundraisers, super PACs now allow individuals to give as much as a major bundler would have raised from scores of givers.

The top ranks of the super PAC donors are necessarily limited to the ultra-wealthy. Romney’s super PAC in particular is well seeded with hedge fund managers and private equity investors, including people associated with Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded. While people from other industries, demographics and interest groups may be fundraising for Romney, the campaign has not disclosed its list of volunteer fundraisers. The Obama campaign has released its list of 2012 volunteer fundraisers, and all presidential campaigns revealed their bundlers in 2008.

One of the Romney campaign’s major Jewish volunteer fundraisers, former Republican National Committee finance chairman Mel Sembler, said that the super PAC attracts a certain sort of donor. “They’re probably usually business associates, close friends and major supporters of Romney,” Sembler said. “I think it all depends on who the people running the super PAC know.”

Sembler, like other big GOP Jewish bundlers, is a board member of the RJC. While some of the Jewish givers to the super PAC fit that profile, others don’t.

The Forward identified a dozen Jews among the 120 donors of $100,000 or more to Restore Our Future as of the end of January.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.