BREAKING NEWS: Giuliani fundraiser was mystery initiative backer
A close friend and major fundraiser of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has identified himself as the mystery financer of the proposed California initiative to apportion the state's 55 electoral votes by congressional district instead of winner-take-all.
He is New York hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer. He said he provided the $175,000 to initially finance the petition drive to get the measure on the June 2008 ballot. But as The Times' Dan Morain revealed in an exclusive story on this website last night, the drive has foundered on internal disputes and lack of further financing.
The petition drive's backers had remained a mystery since the effort was first revealed here in a July Top of the Ticket item. Democratic critics portrayed it as a power grab to wrest away some of the state's electoral votes, which have all gone to the Democratic candidates for the past four presidential elections. Some 19 of the state's 53 congressional districts would seem likely to vote for a GOP presidential candidate, enough to swing some recent national elections.
A Giuliani campaign spokeswoman, Maria Comella, said today that Singer's donation "was completely independent from our campaign."
Singer oversees Elliott Associates, an $8 billion investment fund. He is also chairman of Giuliani's northeast fundraising operation that produced a third of the New Yorker's $33.5 million campaign war chest in the first six months of 2007. Singer and his employees have donated at least $182,000 to the Giuliani campaign so far this year.
"I made the contribution without any restrictions," Singer's statement said. Some Democrats have threatened legal action, complaining that federal campaign finance laws were violated if the Giuliani campaign was involved.
Tonight, Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, issued a statement demanding to know "the truth about Rudy's involvement in and knowledge about this shameful effort to disenfranchise voters."
Morain's complete latest report is available here and in Saturday's print editions.