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Forward 50 2015

Paul Singer

Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer is coming out of the shadows. A philanthropist and Republican political donor whose name was known only to insiders, Singer is now moving to the front row both in politics and in Jewish life.

While much of the public attention in the GOP race has been directed at Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers, Republican candidates also courted Singer for his generous support, and the New York-based businessman recently announced he will back Marco Rubio for the GOP nomination.

Singer, founder of Elliott Management, made his fortune by buying distressed debts and selling them for higher value, including debts of cash-strapped nations such as Argentina.

Singer, 71, has been a longtime supporter of hawkish pro-Israel causes and is one of the major funders of the conservative think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. During the debate over the Iranian nuclear deal, Singer used his fortune to support opponents of the agreement, including by founding an anti-deal Christian group.

Singer also sought to promote Christian support for Israel by signing on to partner with a fundamentalist Christian billionaire to launch a Birthright-like initiative aimed at evangelical students who want to visit Israel.

But at least on one issue, Singer has shown he is not a run-of-the-mill Republican donor. Breaking ranks with many of the party’s key backers, Singer, whose son is married to a man, has devoted time and resources to fighting for gay rights, including within the Republican Party.


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