billionaire Kenneth Griffin, financier of the anti-Trump Republicans

Billionaire Kenneth Griffin is, at 54, a “people” financier. The founder of the hedge fund – or speculative investment fund – Citadel is constantly making headlines: this former Harvard-educated trader is known for his resounding divorce, in 2015, from the Franco-American Anne Dias. Crazy about real estate, he has a superb villa in his native Florida in Palm Beach, near Donald Trump, and in 2019 bought the most expensive apartment in New York, for 238 million dollars (210 million euros then). In 2021, this collector of paintings snatched a rare copy of the American Constitution from a group of geeks, bitcoin fans. And his fortune, estimated at 30 billion dollars (30.5 billion euros), continues to prosper, including during the fall of Wall Street.

But the billionaire is also a “political” financier. He became one of the top donors to the Republican Party for the Nov. 8 election, with CNBC reporting more than $100 million in donations to candidates running in federal and state elections. According to the OpenSecrets observatory, with more than $48 million in spending at the federal level alone, Mr. Griffin is second only to former financier turned philanthropist George Soros ($127 million paid to Democrats), and by the conservative entrepreneur Richard Uihlein ($52 million).

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New generation of kingmakers

With Mr. Griffin, a new generation of kingmakers is trying to impose a more moderate line within the Grand Old Party. “Ken has urged Republican leaders to increase talent and diversity within the party and make it more representative of our country, and he has supported talented women, minority candidates and veterans »says its spokesperson Zia Ahmed.

The financier seems on the way to replacing the brothers Charles and David Koch, former major donors to the Republican Party who were once accused of having pushed their economic interests – in chemistry or industry – via their political funding. “Too many American business leaders stay out of politics today”declared in the spring Mr. Griffin at the Wall Street Journal: “They just can’t keep quiet. »

The Democrats pretend to worry while not worrying. An internal party document quoted by CNBC believes that “Ken Griffin wanted to play kingmaker in Illinois without success”. The billionaire has indeed established himself in Chicago, where he founded his hedge fund in 1990; the main metropolis of Illinois was then the capital of derivatives and rivaled Wall Street.

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