Funds Largely Quiet in a New York Vote

Article excerpt

Political contributions by hedge funds to the 2013 mayoral candidates are minuscule in comparison with the sums they invest in financial markets.

Hedge fund titans are making a $170,336 bet that Christine C. Quinn is the best candidate to run New York City.

Ms. Quinn, a Democrat and the City Council speaker, has received that amount in donations from the hedge fund industry. Paltry though the sum seems, it is more than twice the amount received by the next closest recipient in the mayoral race, Joseph J. Lhota, a Republican, according to records compiled by Common Cause, a public affairs lobbying organization.

Political contributions to the 2013 mayoral candidates are minuscule in comparison to the sums the hedge fund executives invest in financial markets, largely because New York law caps individual contributions to mayoral candidates at $4,950. The New York Campaign Finance Board records for 2013 are notable for their paucity of political contributions from hedge fund managers. Some of the industry's biggest personalities are missing from the donors' list altogether, while a few have donated amounts as small as $100.

The loudest and boldest of hedge funds have been the quietest in this election.

Consider William A. Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, who resigned from the board of the retailer J.C. Penney two weeks ago after a dispute with other board members and just sold his entire stake in the company. Mr. Ackman is a dominant figure in financial headlines and has made a public bet against Herbalife, a nutritional supplement company that he contends is a pyramid scheme.

Mr. Ackman has made no donations to any current mayoral candidate, and he declined to comment.

James S. Chanos, founder of Kynikos Associates, and John A. Paulson of Paulson & Co. have also not yet donated and declined to comment on whether they planned to make any contributions.

George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management, publicly announced his support for the Democrat Bill de Blasio several weeks ago. While there is no record of a campaign contribution, a spokesman said Mr. Soros had donated $2,000 to Mr. de Blasio's campaign and "will give again" for an expected runoff after the primaries.

The top campaign givers, on the other hand, have thrown all their resources into backing Democratic candidates.

Orin S. Kramer, the founder of Boston Provident, tops that list, having given $10,700 of his own money to three of the party's candidates: Ms. Quinn, William C. Thompson Jr. and John C. Liu. Mr. Kramer, who raised more than $2 million for President Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential election, has donated $4,950 each to Ms. Quinn and Mr. Thompson and $800 to Mr. Liu, who is the New York City comptroller.

This month, the city's Campaign Finance Board voted to withhold as much as $3.5 million in matching public money from Mr. …