Singer Joins Griffin As Billionaires Funding Christie’s RGA

Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, during a town hall meeting in Belmar, New Jersey, on March 25, 2014.

Photograph by Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg

Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, during a town hall meeting in Belmar, New Jersey, on March 25, 2014.

Billionaires Paul Singer, Bruce Kovner and Ken Griffin are among this year’s top donors to the Republican Governors Association, a political group led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Singer, founder of New York-based investment firm Elliott Management, and Kovner, founder of Caxton Associates, a New York-based hedge fund company, each donated $500,000 to the RGA in February, according to a report the group filed yesterday with the Internal Revenue Service.

Ken Griffin, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Citadel Advisors LLC, donated $525,000 along with his wife Anne Dias Griffin, the managing partner of Aragon Global Management LLC, the report said.

As Julie Bykowicz and I report for Bloomberg News, Singer is financing other Republican groups including Ending Spending Action Fund, a limited-government group founded by Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, and American Unity PAC, which is urging Republicans to support same-sex marriage. Both groups are super-political action committees that can accept donations in unlimited amounts. So can the RGA, a so-called 527 committee that discloses its donors to the IRS rather than the Federal Election Commission.

The RGA raised $23.5 million through its 527 and its 501(c)(4) affiliate in the first three months of the year. Its single-biggest donation was $1 million from KSL Capital Partners managing director Mike Shannon and his wife. Shannon, whose private-equity firm focuses on the travel industry, donated $500,000 to the RGA last year, Bloomberg’s John McCormick reported in this profile of Christie in November.

The RGA received $250,000 each from Linda McMahon, a two-time candidate for the Senate in Connecticut, and Donald Trump.

Companies donating to the RGA included Pfizer Inc., which sent $500,000; Wellpoint Inc., which donated $275,000; and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which donated $250,000.

Christie is leading the RGA in an election year as Republicans defend 22 governorships compared with 14 for Democrats.

The Democratic Governors Association and its affiliates raised $12.5 million in the first quarter including $895,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and $495,000 from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The DGA received $250,000 from Wellpoint and $25,000 from Pfizer.

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