Jeff Yass, the billionaire financial trader in Bala Cynwyd, is showing some buyer’s remorse over his massive financial support for Republican politicians who have decried the presidential election as stolen.
In the last six years, Yass has given $43 million to Republican candidates nationwide and GOP-oriented political action committees. One such PAC, called the Club for Growth, spent $3 million to help U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, the firebrand from Missouri who was a leader among Republicans contesting the election.
Now, a former stockbroker who is a longtime acquaintance of Yass has made public emails in which the investor denounced Hawley.
“Do you think anyone knew Hawley was going to do that?” Yass wrote. “Sometimes politicians deceive their donors.”
The emails were released by Laura Goldman, a former investment adviser turned freelance television producer in Philadelphia. In them, she said in Twitter postings, Yass also wrote: “To be clear – I don’t think the election was stolen.”
Yass, 65, rarely, if ever, speaks to the media, and he had no comment for this article. He keeps a very low profile, but is one of America’s biggest donors. A ranking by the campaign-finance watchdog, the Center for Responsive Politics, placed Yass and his wife, Janine, as the ninth-largest givers in the United States in the last federal election cycle.
Yass, a founder of the 2,000-employee Susquehanna International Group, a trading and investment giant, gave $21 million over the last two years to the Club for Growth PAC, which supports “economic conservative” candidates and has backed President Donald Trump. That was almost a third of the $65 million war chest the club collected for the 2020 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The PAC, in turn, generously supported the initial election of Hawley in 2018 and the reelection that year of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), key leaders among the 147 Republicans in the Senate and House who voted not to certify Democrat Joe Biden as defeating Trump. It spent $1 million backing Cruz, providing some money to directly help his campaign and the rest to attack his opponent.
Overall in the 2020 election, the Club for Growth PAC gave money to 19 House candidates, all Republicans. Of those, 16 won. And of that group, 12 voted against certification of the election.
The winners included U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, one of the eight Pennsylvania Republicans who voted against accepting Biden’s election. He was the only Pennsylvania candidate to receive money in this cycle. He was given more than $1 million.
The Club for Growth also backed four Republican Senate candidates in the November election, all of whom won.
They included U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Sasse voted to certify Biden’s election and has emerged as one of the GOP’s most outspoken critics of election-result deniers.
It gave money to one other candidate, Steve Daines, of Montana, who voted to certify. He originally was going to object to the vote result but said he changed his stance after the riot.
The other two senators who received donations were Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Cynthia Lummis, of Wyoming. They both voted against certification.
The PAC also spent heavily to back the two Republican candidates for Senate in the special election in Georgia on Jan. 5. The pair received about $2.3 million each. Both lost.
Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey has been a stalwart ally of the Club for Growth and served as its president for four years before his election in 2010. He has urged Trump and Republicans to acknowledge Biden’s win and has said he is not running for reelection.
After the Jan. 6 riot by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol, leading business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Business Roundtable, quickly denounced the assault and and urged officials to accept Joe Biden as the next president.
In an even stronger stand, more than two dozen major corporations, from Walmart to Comcast, said they were suspending campaign donations to those who voted against certifying Biden’s win. (Goldman, who made public Yass’ emails to her, said Yass did not reply when asked if he would refrain from giving money to Hawley and other Republicans who questioned the election results.)
Unlike other business-oriented groups, the Club for Growth has maintained a public silence. It did not respond to a request for comment.
Unlike JPMorgan and several other financial companies that publicly denounced the rioting and distanced themselves from select GOP leaders, Susquehanna mostly invests its own members’ money, and doesn’t have to report to shareholders or outside customers.
The U.K.-based Guardian newspaper was the first to report on Goldman’s tweets and said it had verified her account.
In an interview, Goldman confirmed that she had posted information on Twitter about Yass’ email exchange with her. On social media, Goldman said that Yass had acknowledged that Biden had defeated Trump legitimately.
In Pennsylvania at the state and local levels, Yass has shown past support for Philadelphia mayoral candidates and state officials, particularly for those who support private and charter schools.
Notably, in 2015 Yass and partners Arthur Dantchik and Joel Greenberg donated $7 million to support the run of state Sen. Anthony Williams for mayor of Philadelphia. Williams lost to Jim Kenney in the Democratic primary.
Staff writers Catherine Dunn and Erin Arvedlund contributed to this article.