Who Are Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Donors?


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As he reduce into steak frites on the latest fund-raiser he hosted for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, the financier Omeed Malik surveyed the gang.

What he noticed on that July night was uncommon, he stated: Environmentalists and admirers of Mr. Kennedy’s household have been mingling at a restaurant in Sag Harbor, N.Y., alongside Hollywood figures, hippies and right-wing conservatives.

“It was an entire hodgepodge of characters that I’ve by no means seen at a political occasion,” recalled Mr. Malik, an investor and service provider banker based mostly in Palm Seaside, Fla. “As a result of everyone seems to be interested in him for a distinct motive.”

Fueled by an uncommon mixture of views — passionate environmentalism, for instance, alongside a deep mistrust of the pharmaceutical trade and public well being orthodoxy — Mr. Kennedy’s marketing campaign has stood out for its curious coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents of various backgrounds.

Monetary filings this week from two tremendous PACs supporting him, which collectively have raised practically $10.5 million, appeared to underscore this theme. The professional-Kennedy tremendous PAC American Values 2024 acquired the majority of its cash from two megadonors: one who has contributed tens of hundreds of thousands to Republican causes, and one other who has backed each Democrats and Republicans.

Timothy Mellon, a Wyoming Republican who contributed $53 million in inventory to a Texas fund paying for building of a brand new border wall, gave that tremendous PAC $5 million. Gavin de Becker, a safety govt who describes himself as a Democrat and consulted for the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos throughout Mr. Bezos’s text message scandal, donated $4.5 million.

“The truth that Kennedy will get a lot bipartisan assist tells me two issues,” Mr. Mellon, beforehand a prime donor to former President Donald J. Trump, stated in a press release issued by American Values 2024. “That he’s the one candidate who can unite the nation and root out corruption, and that he’s the one Democrat who can win the overall election.”

In 2019 and 2020, Mr. Mellon gave $70 million mixed to tremendous PACs pushing for Republican management of the Home and Senate and to 1 supporting Mr. Trump, information present.

The assist from Republicans is more likely to heighten suspicions about Mr. Kennedy’s candidacy amongst Democrats who see him as a pawn in an effort to undermine President Biden. Dozens of enterprise capitalists, tech executives, real-estate builders and buyers with various political alliances additionally contributed to the Kennedy-aligned PACs.

Patrick Byrne, the previous chief govt of Overstock.com — and one of the prominent supporters of the effort to overturn the 2020 election — gave $100,000 in Bitcoin to Widespread Sense, one other PAC supporting Mr. Kennedy.

Abby Rockefeller, a daughter of the funding banker David Rockefeller who runs a hashish farm in upstate New York, gave $100,000 to the American Values 2024 PAC. She stated in a press release that she all the time voted for Democrats.

Widespread Sense reported a complete fund-raising haul of about $711,000 within the three-month interval ending in June.

Mr. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer, the scion of a storied American political dynasty and a hero of the so-called medical freedom motion — which has seeded public skepticism about vaccines and different public well being measures — is unlikely to prevail in his quest for the Democratic nomination.

Greater than 5 months earlier than the Iowa caucuses, he’s trailing far behind Mr. Biden. He has the assist of simply 13 p.c of registered voters in contrast with Mr. Biden’s 64 p.c, in accordance with a latest New York Times/Siena poll.

And his monetary assist is more likely to pale as compared with the powerhouse of fund-raising and institutional assist behind the incumbent president.

However the truth that a few of deep-pocketed supporters embody some who favored Mr. Trump prior to now recommend that these numbers could have room to develop.

“I don’t suppose he has the influential tech leaders,” stated Charles Phillips, a enterprise capitalist who co-founded a nonpartisan PAC to assist candidates with methods for financial progress in Black communities. Mr. Kennedy, he added, “gained’t get broad assist. Many of the tech guys supporting him are actually Republicans.”

Mr. Mellon, the grandson of former Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon, additionally gave $5 million final quarter to the Congressional Management Fund, an excellent PAC devoted to electing Republicans to the Home of Representatives, and $1 million to Truthful Courts America, a committee backed by different main Republican donors that has supported conservative candidates for state supreme courtroom seats.

Patrick Byrne, the previous head of Overstock.com and a supporter of the hassle to overturn the 2020 election, is without doubt one of the largest donors to Mr. Kennedy’s marketing campaign.Credit score…Saul Martinez for The New York Instances

A few of Mr. Kennedy’s smaller-scale supporters stated their admiration was pushed by Mr. Kennedy’s unfiltered high quality in addition to his willingness to tackle legacy establishments just like the mainstream information media (which he says has censored him), the banking system (which he believes takes advantage of consumers), the medical institution (he has stated that huge authorities has been co-opted by the pharmaceutical trade), and the federal government’s response to Covid-19, which he has stated was each overreaching and ineffective.

Some are prepared to put aside his extra excessive views — together with his vaccine skepticism and his conspiracy theories about anti-depressants and “Deep State” corruption — as a result of they admire what they see as his integrity.

The Sag Harbor dinner final month drew greater than 30 attendees who every pledged $6,600 to Mr. Kennedy’s marketing campaign, the utmost quantity that may be contributed by people to a marketing campaign for a major and a general-election bid mixed, in accordance with Mr. Malik. In the course of the night, Mr. Kennedy took questions on topics together with Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and cryptocurrency.

In June, Widespread Sense PAC hosted a fund-raiser in San Francisco with two tech buyers, David Sacks — a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Republican donor who has supported Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida — and Chamath Palihapitiya, a former senior govt at Fb.

Nick Corasaniti contributed reporting.


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