September 23, 2014
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

Meet Paul Singer

This recent portrait of Paul Singer, financial wiz behind the Romney machine done for Fortune, lays bare one of the shadowy figures in the Romney campaign (and that’s saying something). Let’s seem them all in the clear antiseptic light of day.  May we come to our senses and take money out of politics.  Don’t laugh, it can be done! Below is an excerpt from the piece by Michelle Calarier. Thanks to Michael Solita and Emily Kehe, art Director and Designer.

 

“Singer is the founder of a $19 billion hedge fund called Elliott Management. And he has a well-earned reputation as one of the smartest and toughest money managers in the business. Over the past 35 years Singer, 67, has produced an extraordinary 14% average annual return after fees, nearly double the price appreciation of the S&P 500 (SPX). He’s achieved that record in large part by buying the debt of bankrupt companies and nations — a strategy that has earned him considerable opprobrium in some circles. His firm, which is engaged in a costly, protracted legal war with Argentina over its defaulted sovereign debt, is so influential that fear of its tactics helped shape the current Greek debt restructuring. Among the sophisticated investors who have placed their confidence in Singer is Mitt Romney himself. According to Romney’s financial disclosures, the trust managing his more than $200 million fortune has at least $1 million invested with Elliott.

In recent years Singer has emerged as a quiet force in the Republican Party. He’s one of a handful of moneymen who have given $1 million to the Romney super PAC “Restore the Future,” which so far has raised $37 million and spent some $34 million. Singer has also donated more than $220,000 to 31 Republicans in national races across the country since Barack Obama became President. Over the past three years he has given nearly $2 million to Republicans in local races in states as far-flung as Florida, Michigan, California, and Texas. But his value goes far beyond his own deep pockets. Singer is known as a major Republican “bundler,” with a large network of rich donors ready to follow his lead. “All the candidates come to pick his brain,” says one party insider.”

 

Comments

  1. ALEX MCCRAE says:

    Hmm…..” ‘All the candidates come to pic his (Paul Singer’s) brain ‘ “. Sounds more like these cash-hungry GOP hopefuls come to pick his deep pockets. Just sayin’.

    Nonetheless, once again, Steve, a beautifully executed, powerful ‘illo’.

    For me, that little cluster of floating balloons add lively grace-notes to an otherwise rather subdued, cool, restrained palette. Amazing how just a few strategically placed notes of warm color (those red balloons, in this case), can give that little extra visual punch to an already engaging piece.

    Couldn’t help noticing the uncanny resemblance of financier Singer to one V. I. Lenin, particularly those angular, slightly abstracted, idealized, heroic sculpted bust-heads of the former Bolshevik leader from his short-lived formative Soviet glory days. (Unlike Singer w/ his Bernanke-esque, closely-cropped, white, full beard, admittedly the mature Lenin sported more of a dark, pointy goatee, and full mustache. No biggie.)

    Still love your cover caricature/ drawing of a quizzical Karl Marx that you did for The Chronicle Review a while back. As I recall, he had a bit of an Orson Wellsian look about him, as he gazed out from the cover page.

  2. Steve says:

    Alex:
    Thanks for your very thoughtful comments here. And your remembering the Marx for Chronicle. Yes I think they are linked in some ethereal zone where powerful people show how truly flawed they are. Singer and Romney want a better America. And they know how to get it. Unfortunately we do not live in that country.
    Best,
    SB

  3. ALEX MCCRAE says:

    Steve,

    I find it rather telling that high-roller financier Paul Singer’s average profit return to his clients (including Mr. Mitt Romney), over the span of his 35-year investment career of basically exploiting the economic travails and ultimate demise of once viable, thriving companies, (and even nations), is purportedly in the 14% range…… after fees are factored in, mind you.

    Hmm… wasn’t that roughly the same promised return on investments the now incarcerated-for-life, gonef-writ-large, one Bernie Madoff, offered his gullible, yet trusting clients early-on into his massive Ponzi operation?

    Just appears, to me, rather odd that when most high-end equity investment firms these days can barely muster even say a modest 8-10% profit return for their average investor, Mr. Singer is allegedly racking up gains hovering around a rarified 15%. (Not that everything isn’t on the up-and-up w/ this Singer guy.)

    But you’d think that Singer’s consistently elevated profit gains would somehow wave a red-flag in the face of the Securities and Exchange Commission? Sadly, the Fed’s SEC has been a tad derelict in their prescribed oversight duties, of late; one of their most recent series of embarrassing gaffes coming out of the aforementioned Madoff fiasco.

    Clearly, party politics at the highest echelons has unfortunately become a high-stakes game of who can amass the greatest stockpile of PAC dollars, plus individual private donations; much of these campaign funds earmarked for the vilification of the opposition party, or candidates thru barrages of attack ads, while bolstering one’s own image in the eyes of the voter. (Discussion of the the burning issues of the day often taking a back seat to dogged character defamation, and your basic acrimonious political mudslinging.)

    Of course, the very controversial decision rendered last year by our Supreme Court that, in essence, ruled that ‘corporations are people too’ (Ugh!), has radically altered the current political fundraising landscape, w/ a clear advantage now skewed toward the GOP, w/ their inherent cozying up to corporate America……. where the bottom line is maximizing PROFIT$.

    Steve, Mitt Romney’s (and Mr. Singer’s) GOP pecuniarily-driven vision for America’s future is so radically different from Pres. Obama’s much more all-inclusive, egalitarian agenda for our nation, going forward. (Hence the GOP’s hackneyed snipe at Obama being an outright, Lefty- socialist. Well he is left-handed.HA!)

    With a Romney presidency, clearly the much-publicized, wealthy, über-advantaged, 1% of Americans would continue to maximize their affluence, and their lives of relative comfort, whilst the 99% of Americans , some of whom barely subsist at, or daily struggle under the poverty threshold, will likely fall thru the societal cracks. Their lot in life, for themselves and their dependent family members, will only become more challenging, and impoverished over time. Not to mention their quality of life.

    In my view, the choices are abundantly clear. Hopefully the U.S. electorate will get it right….. again….. this coming November.

    ALEX

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