Megacollector Steve Cohen Is Betting It All on the Republican Party, Giving Millions to Keep Them in Power

After a two-year ban from business for insider tradiing, Cohen has a plan to win allies in Congress.

Steven Cohen. Courtesy photographer Billy Farrell, © Patrick McMullan.

Billionaire collector Steve Cohen has been on a bit of a spending spree lately—and not just on art. Instead, ahead of his expected return to the hedge fund business, Cohen has been making sizable donations to Republican party PACs.

As reported by FOX Business, “Cohen’s contributions in recent years, and particularly in recent months, to super PACs dedicated to helping the Republicans retain congressional majority in the 2018 midterm elections has begun to raise some eyebrows in GOP circles, both for their timing as he prepares to re-launch his public hedge fund business, and their size.”

Cohen is the top individual donor to the the Senate Leadership Fund super PAC and the Congressional Leadership Fund, dedicated to preserving Republican majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives, with respective $2 million and $3 million contributions.

After accusations of insider trading, Cohen pled guilty, and, as part of a settlement, was subject to a two-year civil ban by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which expired with the start of the new year. Now that he is once again allowed to handle client money, Cohen is reportedly looking to relaunch his company, SAC Capital, now renamed Pt.72 Asset Management.

Roy Lichtenstein, <em>Masterpiece<em> (1962). Courtesy of the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein, Masterpiece (1962). Courtesy of the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.

Over the past two years, Pt.72’s staff has worked on managing Cohen’s family’s investments, which Fortune recently estimated as worth $11 billion. When the company once again goes public, it will work with high net-worth hedge fund investors, and is expected manage some $5 billion in outside money.

The two-year ban has apparently done little to damage Cohen’s financial standing. He’s continued to add to his art collection, valued at $1 billion, notably picking up Roy Lichtenstein’s Masterpiece (1962) from Agnes Gund for a cool $165 million in 2017.

An anonymous financial services lobbyist told FOX Business that Cohen’s recent political donations are part of the plan to ensure his future success, saying “Cohen is getting back into the hedge fund business, and he’s making sure he has allies lined up on Capitol Hill given what he went through.”

Prior to 2010, Cohen had given to both the Democratic and Republican parties, but has only backed the GOP in the years since after his hedge fund came under investigation by US Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara, a Democrat and appointee of President Barack Obama.

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