JANA’s Rosenstein to Host Fund Raiser for Senator Franken

Many Democrats — especially those to the far left — view billionaire Wall Streeters as greedy perpetrators. So, it is fascinating to learn that JANA Partners’ Barry Rosenstein and his wife Lizanne plan to host a fundraiser for Senator Al Franken (D, Minn.).

franken mug

al franken greeted supporters at dfl victory party tuesday night

bill alkofer

What is it about Democratic politicians and hedge fund managers that seem to draw them together? You can almost see the “BFF” at the bottom of all of their IMs and emails.

It’s a seemingly odd alliance. Many Dems — especially those to the far left — view billionaire Wall Streeters as greedy perpetrators of the kinds of practices that hurt the little guy and almost brought down the global financial system. You would think wealthy hedge fund managers are suspicious of Dems, many of whom would like to “spread the wealth around.”

Yet, there is George Soros for years showering Democratic causes with financial support. New York Senator Charles Schumer has been close to the hedge fund community for years. Avenue Capital’s Marc Lasry has been a long-time supporter of President Clinton and Hillary Clinton and even employed Chelsea Clinton for awhile.

Dealbreaker.com recently reported that Democrats in 2008 brought in $11.7 million from hedge funds, nearly twice what the Republicans collected. What’s more, the 10 individuals who topped my 2009 ranking of the highest-earning hedge fund managers (AR-Alpha, April 2010) have given over their lifetime almost $33 million in campaign contributions to Democrats, according to thehill.com, citing research by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and that is based on data maintained by the nonpartisan CQMoneyline. (I’m very flattered.) The same group shelled out just $600,000 to Republicans, according to the same report.

So, it is fascinating to learn that on July 30 JANA Partners’ Barry Rosenstein and his wife Lizanne plan to host a fundraiser at their home in the Hamptons for Minnesota Senator Al Franken. Now Franken is not just any Democrat. He is perhaps one of the most liberal members of the Democratic Party. The guy who demonized FOX News in a book and has taken on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and others of their ideological ilk. “Friends” who attend the fund raiser are encouraged to pony up $500 per person, sponsors $1,000, co-hosts $2,500 and co-chairs $5,000 per person.

What is the connection between Franken — who is from Minnesota but lived in New York for many years — and the Rosensteins — who have lived in the New York area and San Francisco over the years? Rosenstein won’t comment.

But, sources say Lizanne and Franken have been very good friends for quite awhile. In fact, at least one person says she was very instrumental in helping Franken get elected in 2008.

Money makes strange bedfellows, huh?

Stephen Taub

Stephen Taub

Stephen Taub, who has covered the hedge fund industry for 30 years, is a contributing editor to Institutional Investor and Absolute Return-Alpha magazines.

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