New England’s Biggest Republican Donor Is Now Funding Democrats

Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

Hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman said Democrats need to regain control of Congress "for the good of the country".

Seth Klarman, one of New England's biggest Republican donors, has switched to backing Democrats in the wake of President Donald Trump and the Republican party’s apparent inability to stand up to Trump’s style of governing.

He’s given roughly $222,000 since the 2016 election to 78 Democrats running for Congress, according to federal election data from 2017 and a preview of Klarman’s first-quarter donations provided to the Globe by a person familiar with his giving.

“The Republicans in Congress have failed to hold the president accountable and have abandoned their historic beliefs and values,” Klarman said in a prepared statement to the Globe, opening up for the first time about the reasons behind his change in political giving. “For the good of the country, the Democrats must take back one or both houses of Congress.”

Adding a dash of salt to the Republican wound is Klarman’s claim that he is using the gift of their tax cuts to finance the opposition:

“I received a tax cut I neither need nor want,” said Klarman, who Forbes estimates is worth $1.5 billion. “I’m choosing to invest it to fight the administration’s flawed policies and to elect Democrats to the Senate and House of Representatives.”

As time goes on and Trump’s behavior shows no sign of abatement, a growing number of Republican donors are discussing jumping ship.

“These guys, a lot of them, are fiscal conservatives, and the only thing they see coming out of Trump is the daily crazy tweets,” said Rick Wilson, a Florida Republican who does not support Trump. “The contempt for him is profound among the donor community.”