The Mercers donate generously to New York Republicans

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The Mercers donate generously to New York Republicans

Robert and his daughter Rebekah's influence reaches to the far right
January 24, 2018

The Mercers are well on their way to becoming among the most influential donors in New York politics.

The Long Island-based family, most notably patriarch Robert Mercer and one of his daughters, Rebekah, have been patrons for several right-wing groups, political action committees and politicians across the country. In 2016 alone, Robert, who recently stepped down as the co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies, and Rebekah Mercer donated $25 million to various candidates and causes.

The Mercers, who are among the most important supporters of the president and are investors in Breitbart News, were also backers of former Trump strategist Steve Bannon until earlier this month. (In November of 2017, Robert Mercer sold his stake in Breitbart to his two daughters.) Although their donations are not concentrated in any particular geographic area, the Mercers have donated generously in their home state of New York, working assiduously to elect Republican candidates on the state and federal level.

Most recently, this month Rebekah Mercer donated to the campaign committee of Tom Basile, the former executive director of the state Republican Party and the senior advisor for policy at Reclaim New York, a conservative advocacy group. Rebekah is the chairman and treasurer for the board of directors at Reclaim New York, and her sister, Jennifer, is its secretary. Basile formed a committee exploring a state Senate run for the seat held by Republican state Sen. Bill Larkin in November. Larkin, who is nearly 90, indicated that month that he will not retire.

From Basile to Donald Trump, here is the list of candidates that members of the Mercer family have supported in the 2016 elections through Jan. 24, 2018:

State candidates

Nicole Malliotakis – In January, Rebekah and Robert Mercer each donated$4,950 to Nicole for New York City, the campaign committee for the assemblywoman and Republican New York City mayoral candidate. Jennifer Mercer donated $4,950 to Malliotakis’s ultimately unsuccessful campaign in July 2017.

Rob Astorino – The Mercers spent significant funds on the doomed campaign for a third term by Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who was defeated by Democrat George Latimer. In October of last year, Robert Mercer gave two donations of $500,000 apiece to Win for NY on, a super PAC that backed Astorino. Win for NY has since been terminated. On Nov. 6, 2017, Mercer contributed $29,907 directly to Astorino. Robert Mercer’s wife Diana Mercer, donated a combined total of $29,907 to Astorino’s campaign on the same date, listing her address at the family horse farm in Wellington.

Tom Basile – On Jan. 12, Rebekah Mercer gave $18,000 to Citizens for Tom Basile. Basile has previously said that he would not run for state Senate if Larkin chose not to retire, but this donation came after Larkin said he would run for re-election.

Federal candidates

Elise Stefanik – Robert Mercer donated $2,700 to Rep. Elise Stefanik’s reelection campaign on July 15, 2016.

George Phillips – Robert Mercer gave a combined total of $5,400 to the campaign of George Phillips in June 2016. Diana Mercer also donated a combined total of $5,400 to Phillips’ campaign on the same date. Phillips was defeated by now-Rep. Claudia Tenney in the 2016 Republican primary.

Claudia Tenney – Apparently the Mercers’ opposition to Tenney did not last. Rebekah Mercer donated $2,700 to Tenney on Oct. 23, 2016.

Sakima Brown – Robert Mercer gave $2,700 to Brown, a Republican challenger to Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, on Jan. 10, 2016. Brown later dropped out of the primary race. 

John Faso – The Mercers spent significant funds in ensuring that John Faso won his congressional race against liberal firebrand Zephyr Teachout. Robertand Rebekah each contributed $5,400 to Faso’s campaign. Robert Mercer also gave $500,000 to the pro-Faso New York Wins PAC. He recently donated a total of $5,400 to Faso’s 2018 campaign. Diana Mercer donated the same amount on the same date.

Phil Oliva – Diana Mercer supported Oliva, the eventual candidate against Maloney, with a $2,700 donation in 2016.

Donald Trump – Robert Mercer donated a total of $5,400 to the Trump campaign on June 21, 2016, as did Diana Mercer. He and Diana Mercer also each gave the Trump Victory PAC $5,400. On June 13, 2016, Rebekah Mercer gave $5,400 to the Trump campaign, and $449,400 to the Trump Victory PAC. Robert Mercer also donated millions to the Trump-supporting PAC Make America Number 1 during the campaign, which Rebekah Mercer chaired. Robert and Diana also gave $193,400 to the Republican Party’s legal defense fund on the day that President Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey.

Grace Segers
is City & State’s digital reporter. She writes daily content on New York City and New York state politics.
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