The dark money group No Labels is putting millions of dollars behind preparations to run a third-party 2024 presidential ticket, composed of a Democrat and Republican, in the event of a rematch between President Biden and former President Trump. Many political observers have written that the plan from the self-described centrist group, whose recurring funders have reportedly included several Republican megadonors, would likely pull votes from Biden’s re-election campaign.
While No Labels declines to identify the sources of the vast majority of its funding, documents released by the Internal Revenue Service offer a window into some of the donors to its effort to secure ballot access in all 50 states.
Of the 36 donors it recently disclosed, only two are not either corporate executives, retired corporate executives, or their spouses, according to Sludge’s review.
The donors all gave in August 2022 to a group formed by No Labels called Insurance Policy for America that is spending money on the ballot access campaign. Insurance Policy for America is a 527 political organization, so it files its disclosures with the IRS rather than the Federal Election Commission. Its registration filing shows it was formed on Dec. 20, 2021 and received $2.4 million from No Labels three days later. The Insurance Policy for America donors were first mentioned by Politico last week and covered by Mother Jones.
The donations were listed on a periodic report covering the third quarter of last year that was signed on May 2 by Jerald Howe, Jr., a No Labels board of directors member and the group’s custodian of records who is also an executive vice president and general counsel at defense firm Leidos. The report shows the group raised $190,800 that quarter. It spent $173,075 in August and September with vendors such as Capitol Advisors of Alexandria, Virginia on ballot access.
Matthew Kaplan, an executive at investment firm Neuberger Berman, gave $5,600 to the group last August. Kaplan is chairman of the Almanac investment business at the firm, which invests in real estate assets and interests, and so far this year has donated to the campaigns of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), No Labels ally and potential presidential pick Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), among others. The firm Neuberger Berman belongs to at least two trade associations that lobbied against revenue elements in the Democrats’ budget reconciliation plan. The Investment Company Institute (ICI), which represents investment firms, has mentioned in lobbying disclosures that it worked on supporting a preferential capital gains tax rate and opposing a financial transaction tax. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), which represents securities companies, investment banks, and other firms, put out a statement in September 2021 from Tim Cameron, managing director, expressing concerns with tax changes in the Democrats’ reconciliation bill. With help from Sinema, the investment industry succeeded at blocking the Democrats from passing legislation in the later Inflation Reduction Act to raise taxes on investment managers through addressing what is known as the “carried interest loophole.”
Several other individuals affiliated with the private investment sector have also donated to No Labels’ presidential push. Jay Grossman, co-CEO of private equity firm Abry Partners, donated $5,600 to Insurance Policy for America. Andrew Feldstein of Scarsdale, New York, who listed his occupation as self-employed, is the former CEO and chief investment officer of hedge fund BlueMountain Capital, which was rebranded as Assured Investment Management in 2020. He donated the same amount. John A. Mayer of Greenwich, Connecticut donated $3,000 to Insurance Policy for America, listing his occupation as retired. Known as Tony Mayer, he is the retired managing director and chief executive officer of private equity subsidiary JPMorgan Capital Corporation. The largest commercial bank in the U.S. by total assets, JPMorgan Chase is a member of lobbying groups including the American Bankers Association, the Business Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. According to Crunchbase, Mayer is now a member of the board of directors for Expansion Capital Group, a financial services company and small business lender.
William Berkley, founder and executive chair of insurance company W. R. Berkley Corporation, donated $5,600 to Insurance Policy for America, listing as his employer “WRBC.” In the 2022 election cycle, giving his residence as Key Largo, Florida, Berkley donated to members of Congress in both parties, from Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and John Cornyn of Texas to Manchin and Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar. In 2021 and 2022, Berkley’s company spent nearly $1.9 million in lobbying Congress, the White House, and the Department of the Treasury on issues including “Plans for international and US capital requirements for financial institutions” and “Tax Treatment of Property and Casualty Insurance and Reinsurance.” Berkley’s company is also a member of several trade associations, with $250,000 contributed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund, an arm of the massive business lobbying group.
Andrew Tisch of New York, New York, co-chairman of the board of the conglomerate Loews Corporation, gave $5,600 to the group. Tisch was a member of the No Labels board of directors as of 2021 and was listed as a director on the group’s website in recent months, until the group took down its public webpage of board members. In its most recent voluntary disclosure, for 2022, Loews said its business Boardwalk Pipelines was a member of numerous fossil fuel industry trade associations, including the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA). In its recent lobbying disclosures, Loews reports having lobbied the government on regulations regarding corporate stock buybacks, the new corporate alternative minimum tax, and methane emission fees, among many other topics.
James N. Stanard, who also donated $5,600, retired in 2005 as the chairman and CEO of reinsurance company RenaissanceRe Holdings, a holding company based in Bermuda. His federal donations have strongly tilted toward Republican groups like the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the joint fundraising committee of former House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.), though he gave over $22,000 in 2020 to the Democratic Problem Solvers Fund, a joint fundraising committee benefiting Manchin, Sinema, Sen. Jacky Rosen (Nev.), and others.
Other financial industry donors to the No Labels 50-state ballot access plan include the following: Kenneth DeAngelis, co-founder of VC firm Austin Ventures; Peter Resnick, who in 2015 became a principal at real estate investment firm Pinstripe Capital Management; Eric Chern, co-founder of proprietary trading firm Chicago Trading Company; and Jim Frank, former CEO and executive chair of Frank Family Investments.