Hedge funds. According a ranking published yesterday by Institutional Investor’s Alpha Magazine, the 25 best-paid hedge fund managers together took home $12.94 billion last year – and used some of it to lobby Congress and fund presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle.
For example, Kenneth C. Griffin (pictured below) made a tidy $1.7 billion (Forbes estimates his personal worth at $7.5 billion). He was the biggest donor to the successful re-election campaign of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and this year has poured more than $3.1 million into the failed presidential campaigns of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, and the Republican National Committee.
John Simons also made $1.7 billion last year, and has donated $9.2 million this year to political campaigns, including $7 million to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton. George Soros, another hedge-fund billionaire, put $8 million into Hillary Clinton’s campaign in December.
Not incidentally, the incomes of hedge-fund managers are taxed at the lower capital gains rate rather than as ordinary income because of the “carried interest” loophole. Although Democrats ran Congress and occupied the White House in 2009 and 2010, that loophole remains. And that shouldn’t surprise anyone.