Billionaire investor Peter Thiel made his first big midterm donation to the Republican National Committee, giving $101,700 to the GOP in July through a joint fundraising committee that also raises money for President Donald Trump’s re-election committee.
The move shows Thiel will continue to support Republicans as they battle to maintain control in Washington, even though he’s been conspicuously silent for the past year on issues relating to Trump and his performance. The venture capitalist who was Facebook Inc.’s first outside investor was once among the most vocal of Trump supporters.
Thiel was a big donor in 2016, making $1 million donations to Make America Number 1, a super political action committee that supported Trump, and to Fighting for Ohio Fund, which supported Republican Senator Rob Portman in his re-election battle. His biggest donation of the cycle was $2 million to a super-PAC that supported the primary campaign of Carly Fiorina.
His giving has slowed in the current election cycle. Thiel has contributed a total of $316,800, Federal Election Commission records show, with $133,900 of that going to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which helps House GOP candidates. He’s also given $50,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the maximum $5,400 to Missouri attorney general Josh Hawley, who’s running against Senator Claire McCaskill in a state Trump carried by 19 points, and Ivan Raiklin, a tech entrepreneur who lost in the Republican primary in Virginia to Corey Stewart.
Still, Thiel has given more in 2018 than in any previous midterm going back to 1998, FEC records show. He’s already exceeded his donations compared to the 2014 midterms, when he gave a total of $38,300, with $10,000 of that amount going to Facebook’s PAC.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam are the biggest donors in the midterms, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, with $55.7 million in contributions to Republican candidates, party committees and supporting super-PACs.
Thiel did weigh in to defend Trump at an event earlier this week in Brazil saying he isn’t a “zombie” unlike other Republican presidential hopefuls in 2016.
Thiel spoke in 2016 at the Republican National Convention in support of Trump and served as a member of Trump’s transition team, helping fill open positions in the administration and even considering a few jobs for himself. His tight relationship with Trump irked many in Silicon Valley, some of whom ditched deals with Thiel and groups related to Thiel because of his politics. Thiel fired back, accusing Silicon Valley of being intolerant to diverse opinions.
A representative for Thiel didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. His July donation was reported earlier by CNBC.
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