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Bruce Kovner

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Bruce Kovner

Bruce Kovner serves on the board of trustees and was formerly Chair of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a pro-coporate, right-wing think tank.[1][2] Kovner also formerly served on the board of the Manhattan Institute[3] and has provided financial backing for the New York Sun, a right-leaning newspaper,[4] and The New Republic magazine under Martin Peretz.[5] Through these organizations, Kovner was a major financial backer of right-wing infrastructure.[5]

Bruce Kovner and his wife, Suzie Kovner, are major contributors to Republican campaigns and causes in the United States.[6] The Kovners are among the top out-of-state supporters of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, reporting contributions of $120,000 to his campaign during the 2011-2012 Wisconsin recall elections.[7][8] In 2014 the Kovners were also revealed to have made a previously unknown $50,000 contribution during the recall to Wisconsin Club for Growth, which is a target of a long-running investigation into potentially illegal campaign coordination with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's electoral campaign.[9]

Kovner founded Caxton Corporation, a trading and hedge fund management company, in 1983, and served as chairman until he retired in 2011.[3] As of May 2015, Forbes reports that Kovner has a net worth of $5 billion.[10]

Reported and Unreported Political Contributions

2016 Presidential Race Funding

On April 1, 2015, Kovner hosted a "meet and greet" fundraiser in New York City for Chris Christie's Leadership Matters for America PAC.[11]

Disclosed Federal Contributions

Bruce Kovner and his wife, Suzie Kovner, have been among the top individual contributors to federal political campaigns in the United States.[6]


The Kovners reported the following federal political contributions in the 2014 election cycle, all to Republicans:[12][13]

  • $63,000: National Republican Congressional Committee
  • $52,400: Republican National Committee
  • $32,400: National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • $15,000: Every Republican is Crucial PAC
  • $10,000: Republican Campaign Committee of New York
  • $10,000: Seventh District Republican Committee
  • $10,400: Cory Booker
  • $6,126: Eric Cantor
  • $5,200: Lindsay Graham
  • $5,000: Cory Gardner


In 2012, the Kovners reported $1,924,100 in contributions to federal candidates, parties, political action committees, 527 organizations, and Carey committees, making them the 40th largest contributors in the country according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. 100 percent of their reported contributions went to Republican campaigns.[6]

Bruce and Suzie Kovner reported the following federal political contributions in the 2012 election cycle:[14][15]

Ties to Scott Walker and Dark Money Groups Under Investigation

Summary of supporting exhibits from case documents filed August 22, 2014.

In addition to the $120,000 the Kovners reported contributing directly to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's campaign during the 2011-2012 recall elections,[7][8] the Kovners also made an undisclosed contribution of $50,000 in March 2012 to Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG), a Wisconsin-based organization that spent at least $9.1 million during the recall elections, and funneled at least $10 million more to other politically-active groups like Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, while reporting that it spent $0 on politics to the IRS.[16] The contribution only became public in August 2014, when documents related to a "John Doe" investigation into potentially illegal campaign coordination between Walker's campaign, WiCFG, WMC, and possibly other groups were briefly unsealed. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the documents suggest that Walker was advised to personally solicit funds from Kovner and others for WiCFG:

"The records include example after example of Walker or his aides encouraging donors to give money to the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
"In September 2011, Doner sent an email to Walker and others with brainstorming ideas for raising money for the Wisconsin Club for Growth. Among them: "Take Koch's money," "Get on a plane to Vegas and sit down with Sheldon Adelson," and "Go heavy after (corporations) to give."
"The documents also show the club received large checks from donors soon after Walker was advised to solicit funds from them for the group. Those included $250,000 from hedge fund CEO Paul Singer, $100,000 from manufacturer Maclean-Fogg Co., $50,000 donation from Atlanticus Holdings CEO David Hanna's trust, $50,000 from hedge fund chairman Bruce Kovner, $50,000 from natural gas and oil producer Devon Energy, $15,000 from Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and $15,000 from Trump" (emphasis added).[17]

Case documents filed by the prosecutors include the following supporting exhibits related to Kovner:

[Id. at ¶¶ 54, 56; Exhibits 45, 47] A March 10, 2012 email Walker sent to Kate Doner stating that "Bruce and Suzie Kovner said they want to give more." On March 22, 2012, the WiCFG bank account reflected a deposit of $50,000 from the account of Bruce Kovner. The memo line of the check reflects the check is for "501c4-Walker."

For more information, see the pages Scott Walker, Wisconsin Club for Growth, Scott Walker John Doe Documents, and The Campaign to Legalize Coordination in Wisconsin and Nationwide.


As of May 2015:

Previous Affiliations

Contact Information

The Kovner Foundation
Princeton Plz., Bldg. 2
731 Alexander Rd.
Princeton, NJ 08540-5236
Telephone: (609) 919-7600


  1. American Enterprise Institute, "Board of Trustees," organizational website, accessed May 2015.
  2. American Enterprise Institute, "Board of Trustees," November 2008. Archived by Internet Wayback Machine, accessed May 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Institute for Policy Studies, Bruce Kovner Profile, Institute for Policy Studies, April 26, 2012.
  4. Phillip Weiss, George Soros’s Right-Wing Twin, New York Magazine, August 8, 2005.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Joe Hagan, "President Bush’s Neoconservatives Were Spawned Right Here in N.Y.C., New Home of the Right-Wing Gloat," New York Observer, Apil 28, 2003.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Center for Responsive Politics, "Top Individual Contributors: All Federal Contributions (2012)," Open Secrets database, accessed May 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, "Bruce Kovner contributions, campaign finance database, accessed May 2015.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, "Suzie Kovner contributions, campaign finance database, accessed May 2015.
  9. Brendan Fischer," WI Club for Growth, Target of Walker Recall Probe, at Center of Dark Money Web," Center for Media and Democracy, PR Watch, November 18, 2013.
  10. Forbes, Bruce Kovner Profile, Forbes, 2015.
  11. Heather Haddon, Former Mitt Romney Donors to Turn Out for Chris Christie, Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2015.
  12. Center for Responsive Politics, "Bruce Kovner Contributions (2014 cycle)," Open Secrets database, accessed May 2015.
  13. Center for Responsive Politics, "Suzie Kovner Contributions (2014 cycle)," Open Secrets database, accessed May 2015.
  14. Center for Responsive Politics, "Bruce Kovner contributions (2012 election cycle)," Open Secrets database, accessed May 2015.
  15. Center for Responsive Politics, "Suzie Kovner contributions (2012 election cycle)," Open Secrets database, accessed May 2015
  16. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, Says "Let's Get the Truth Out", PR Watch, May 1, 2015.
  17. Patrick Marley, Daniel Bice, and Lee Bergquist, "Walker wanted funds funneled to Wisconsin Club for Growth," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 22, 2014.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Synta Pharmaceuticals, Board of Directors, Synta Pharmaceuticals, 2015.
  19. Inside Philanthropy, Kovner Foundation: Grants for Music, Inside Philanthropy, 2015.
  20. Juilliard School, Leaders and Administration, Juilliard School, 2015.
  21. Lincoln Center, Board of Directors, Lincoln Center, 2015.
  22. The Metropolitan Opera, Board of Directors, The Metropolitan Opera, 2015.
  23. Council on Foreign Relations, Membership Roster, Council on Foreign Relations, 2015.
  24. National Affairs, About Us, National Affairs, 2015.
  25. Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Board of Trustees, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 2015.