Private Equity Giants Back Sinema in Q1

KKR, Blackstone, and The Carlyle Group employees made up nearly half of the senator's joint fundraising committee haul in the first three months of the year.

Private Equity Giants Back Sinema in Q1
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema drew a line in the sand last year when she was a crucial vote for the Senate Democrats who wanted to pass their signature budget bill the Inflation Reduction Act. The Democrats had wanted to make it harder for investment industry executives to pay reduced tax rates by lengthening the amount of time they would be required to hold their investments, from three years to five years, to qualify for the break. But Sinema demanded the provision be cut from the bill in exchange for her vote. 

“Senator Sinema said she would not vote for the bill, not even move to proceed unless we took it out,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said last August. “So we had no choice.”

Sinema has since left the Democratic Party and has reportedly insulted its members in comments to Republican lobbyists, and the party has embraced a Democrat, Rep. Ruben Gallego, who is running to take over her Senate seat in 2025. But Sinema’s investment industry donors are sticking by her, according to a new Federal Election Commission filing

Executives and employees with the private equity firm The Carlyle Group donated $253,600 to Sinema in the first quarter of the year, while people affiliated with Blackstone gave her $274,500 and those affiliated with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) gave her $103,700. The donations from employees and executives of those three investment firms made up more than 45% of the total money the senator’s joint fundraising committee raised in the first quarter. Other investment firms whose executives gave to Sen. Sinema in the first quarter of the year include Bain Capital, Tenaya Capital, and GreenWood Investors. 

Sinema’s fundraising from private equity and hedge funds has been strong ever since she got the tax provision deleted from the Inflation Reduction Act. In the months last year after the IRA wrangling, Sinema raised $526,000 from donors in the private equity, hedge fund, and venture capital industries, Sludge has previously reported

In total, Sinema raised $2.1 million in the first quarter, while Gallego raised $3.5 million. Sen. Sinema has not yet announced if she is planning to run for re-election in 2024 as an Independent, but reports say that she is preparing to run.

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