It turns out that the only major contributor to the collapsed Republican electoral college initiative is not only Northeastern finance chairman for Rudy Giuliani, but as a leading “vulture fund” operator is also a controversial figure.
Late yesterday, the New York Daily News revealed that the bid to change California’s winner-take-all Electoral College vote for the presidency to an allocation by congressional district — which could guarantee a Republican victory next year — got most of its previously secret funding from a New York hedge fund impresario who is Republican presidential frontrunner Rudy Giuliani’s top fundraiser in terms of dollars attributed to his personal efforts. He is also, it turns out, and you won’t see this in the New York Daily News report, seen as one of the most prominent “vulture fund” investors in the world.
Singer, research reveals, is very private, does not want his picture taken, and prefers to converse with the press — if at all — via e-mail.
“I contributed to the Take Initiative America because I believe in proportional voting in the Electoral College,” Singer, the founder of Elliott Associates, said in a statement e-mailed to the Daily News. “I made the contribution without any restrictions, including whether or how it would need to be disclosed. I left disclosure completely up to TIA.”
TIA, or Take Initiative America, is an unknown group based in a small Missouri town. Its purported proprietor, a young local Missouri lawyer, and its California consultant, Republican Jonathan Wilcox, had both cited the lack of a legal requirement for it to disclose the source of the $175,000 it contributed to the California initiative campaign. That is the money that enabled the campaign to hire consultant Mike Arno to start up a signature gathering drive, which has now ended.
The far right Flash Report web site — which heavily promoted the scheme — rather amusingly reported this: “The initiative was unable to garner the financial support it deserved, and, in addition, one of the donors had some apparent organizational difficulties.”
“One of the donors” being, of course, Singer. Who, with his secret $175,000, was the only major donor to speak of.
Singer is reported to be one of the most important “vulture fund” operators in the world. These so-called vulture funds are defined by the International Monetary Fund and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown as funds which buy up heavily discounted debt of poor nations and then sue to receive closer to the debt’s original value, plus interest, undermining the point of debt relief. The BBC attempted to interview Singer, described as “a reclusive billionaire” and the man who “virtually invented vulture funds,” in February of this year. But he didn’t want to talk to them.
In the ’90s, his company paid $11 million for deeply discounted Peruvian debt and then demanded, and got, $58 million. According to the BBC, Singer’s company is now suing Congo Brazzaville for $400 million for a debt it bought for $10 million.
With regard to the vulture fund phenomenon, in 2002, while Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister), now Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:”We particularly condemn the perversity where vulture funds purchase debt at a reduced price and make a profit from suing the debtor country to recover the full amount owed — a morally outrageous outcome.”
“Nothing about this passed the smell test,” a Republican strategist says of the collapsed Electoral College scheme.
Singer has very close ties to Rudy Giuliani.
He is Northeastern finance chairman for the Giuliani campaign and a friend and policy advisor to the candidate. Giuliani frequently uses a jet owned by Singer’s company.
Singer is also a trustee of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative policy foundation that has been a source of many Giuliani policy proposals.
The Giuliani campaign denies any knowledge of Singer’s previously secret backing of the collapsed California initiative campaign.
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