What's Up With AFER Donor Paul Singer?
This weekend the New York Times reported that Wall Street financier Paul Singer, who calls himself a "Barry Goldwater conservative," has secretly donated millions to LGBT causes. Singer will be hosting the upcoming Ken Mehlman fundraiser for AFER in his Manhattan home.
But Duncan Osborne reports on his blog Herd & Scene that Singer has also been a heavy backer of anti-gay GOP candidates around the nation.
When Mehlman came out in an August 25 story in The Atlantic it was clearly timed to coincide with the fundraiser so as an organizer of the 2004 campaigns it would seem that he was doing penance for those earlier anti-gay efforts. Singer and Thiel bring plenty of their own right wing baggage to this fundraiser. Call me cynical, but the same people who helped Mehlman spin his coming out may be helping Singer. For years, Singer has been a reliable and generous donor to many state and federal Republican political organizations, candidates, and office holders including some of the most anti-gay members of that party, such as Rick Santorum and Bill McCollum, who lost a bid to become the Republican nominee for Florida’s governor’s office on August 24. Singer has also supported moderate Republicans and has donated to Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat. In New York, he has donated to Democrats and Republicans, but his largest donations have gone to the state Republican and Conservative parties. In 2008, the Paul Singer Family Foundation gave $275,000 to the Manhattan Institute, a right wing group that has Singer as the chair of its board. Plenty of the experts at the institute have opposed gay marriage and other gay causes. The foundation gave the institute $30,000 in 2007. Also in 2008, the foundation gave $50,000 to the Witherspoon Institute.Duncan Osbourne: "This fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights looks increasingly bizarre. When donors to a gay group must hire publicists to plant stories about the alleged secret philanthropy of one to gay causes or another’s struggle with his gay feelings as he attacked the gay and lesbian community it seems to me that the message is that they have doubts about their commitment. Or they think the rest of us will question their motives. The solution would have been to approach Mehlman’s coming out with some humility, but I doubt he knows what that is."
In a follow-up post today, Osborne examines Singer's donations to anti-gay candidates in Virginia such as Gov. Bob McDonnell and AG Ken Cuchinelli.