Jeffrey Yass

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Jeffrey Yass

Jeffrey Yass is the billionaire co-founder of the Susquehanna International Group, a private financial trading firm based in suburban Philadelphia. As of July 2023, Forbes estimated Yass’s net worth to be $28.5 billion, though the Bloomberg Billionaire Index estimates his wealth to be $33.1 billion — either way making him one of the wealthiest people on earth and the richest man in Pennsylvania. Considered a Republican mega donor, Yass contributes to organizations and campaigns that oppose taxes, support charter schools, and support the implementation of term limits. Yass and his wife Janine explained their focus on school privatization by citing libertarian economist Milton Friedman: “Nearly half a century ago, the economist Milton Friedman advised that the best investment in education is choice. He argued that free market principles are a mechanism for improving education.” [1]

Yass spends tens of millions of dollars each election cycle to advance school privatization, according to Forbes.[2] In accordance with these views, Yass is vehemently opposed to and critical of teachers’ unions, which overwhelmingly oppose school privatization. In an August 2023 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Yass claimed that in “Teachers unions and Democrats fight competition at all costs, even declining additional educational spending, to preserve a governmental monopoly that disenfranchises low-income, predominately minority urban children.”[3]

Yass is a libertarian and a longtime board member of the Cato Institute. In October 2022 Yass was made vice chair, though as of July 2023 he is not listed as a board member on Cato’s website.[4] Yass also runs the Claws Foundation, the Susquehanna Foundation, and the Yass Foundation. All contribute to libertarian causes and school privatization. The Yass Foundation works in partnership with the Center for Education Reform and Forbes to distribute the Yass Prize and STOP Awards, which distributes millions of dollars in prizes annually to fund school privatization efforts.

News and Controversies

Political Activities in Pennsylvania

Yass became the target of a political campaign run by 1HOOD Power, the advocacy arm of 1HOOD Media, in 2023 campaign called #AllEyesOnYass.[5] The campaign used Yass’s campaign contributions and outsized influence on politics in Pennsylvania to call for tax, campaign finance, and lobbying reform. The campaign accuses Yass of funding efforts to privatize public schools, cut corporate business taxes, outlaw abortion, and bust unions.[6]

A coalition of progressive groups penned an op-ed in early 2023 in which they wrote that in recent elections “we saw directly how his money funds new threats to our democracy.”[7] The coalition of groups opposing Yass’s influence in PA include Pennsylvania Working Families, Free the Ballot, Make the Road PA, Reclaim Philadelphia, One Pennsylvania, and the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE).[8]

Yass has also funded his own Pennsylvania PAC, called Students First.[9]

Although Yass is a libertarian and donates frequently to Republican candidates, he funded a number of Pennsylvania Democrats who unsuccessfully sought to impeach progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.[10]

Yass spent heavily in the 2022 election to defeat John Fetterman, who won the senate seat over TV star Mehmet Oz.[11]

Conservative Political Spending

U.S. Politics

In December 2023, Yass made what has been called the largest single campaign donation in Texas history: $6 million to Texas Governor Greg Abbott.[12] School privatization was one of Abbott’s legislative priorities in 2023.

2022 Election Spending Research compiled by OpenSecrets shows that Yass was the 4th largest individual donor to outside spending groups in the 2022 elections, spending over $56 million.[13] During that election cycle his top five recipients were Club for Growth Action ($20 million); School Freedom Fund ($15 million); Kentucky Freedom PAC ($5 million); Crypto Freedom PAC ($4.9 million); and Protect Freedom PAC ($4.5 million).[14]

2020 Election Spending Yass was one of the top political spenders in the 2020 elections. A roundup conducted by Forbes found that Yass was the 7th largest political donor during the 2020 election.[15] In the runup to the 2020 election, Yass donated a total of $21.7 million to the hyper-conservative, anti-tax group Club for Growth Action (constituting 30% of their total donations) and an additional $8.6 million to the Protect Freedom PAC (constituting 65% of their total donations).[16]

Yass has spent over $100 million on campaign contributions in recent years, backing efforts such as anti-tax advocacy, pro charter schools, “defeating” critical race theory, and promoting Big Lie politicians, according to reporting by ProPublica.[17]

Yass was the sole donor to the Moderate PAC, a political group that sought to protect centrist Democrats from progressive challengers, according to 2023 reporting by the Intercept.[18]

Foreign Funding

An investigation by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz found that Yass is a major contributor to the right-wing Israeli nonprofit organization Kohelet Policy Forum, which has been behind the recent judicial restructuring that has provoked widespread civil unrest in 2023.[19]

Tax Avoidance

An investigation by ProPublica found that Yass avoided paying over $1 billion in federal taxes in just six years. The same report found that Yass and Susquehanna have taken the state of Pennsylvania to court over paying taxes.[20]

Article and Resources

Related ExposedbyCMD Articles

External Articles


  1. Jeff Yass and Jasmine Yass, Educational freedom is the right thing to do, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 15, 2023.
  2. Stephen Caruso, Pa.’s richest person has spent at least $18 million on the 2022 primary — mostly to influence one issue, Spotlight PA, May 16, 2022.
  3. Jeffrey Yass, [The Pennsylvania School-Choice Stakes] Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2023.
  4. News Release, Cato Institute Names New Chair & Vice Chair; Welcomes Mackey to Board Cato Institute, October 2, 2022.
  5. 1HOOD Power, Meet the Richest Man In Pennsylvania 1HOOD Power Blog, Accessed August 10, 2023.
  6. Jeff Yass, Funding Bad Labor Policy Must Stop, YouTube, May 3, 2023.
  7. Dwayne Royster, Khari Mosley, Diana Robinson, Arielle Klagsbrun, Pele IrgangLaden, and Eric Rosso A deep-pocketed donor from Pa. is moving onto the national stage. That’s a problem, Pennsylvania Capital-Star, January 19, 2023.
  8. Action Center on Race and the Economy, Grassroots Groups Protest Role of Billionaire Jeff Yass in Undermining Democracy and Attempting to Buy Election, Action Center on Race and the Economy Press Release, October 13, 2022.
  9. Katie Meyer, Jeff Yass, the richest man in Pa., is single handedly keeping school choice PACs flush, WHYY, May 12, 2021.
  10. Pennsylvania Spotlight, Key Democrats Involved in Krasner’s Impeachment Funded by Jeffrey Yass, Pennsylvania Spotlight, October 5, 2022.
  11. Pennsylvania Spotlight, Jeffrey Yass and Corporate Interests Behind Super PAC Attacks on John Fetterman, Pennsylvania Spotlight, October 19, 2022.
  12. Patrick Svitek, School voucher supporter gave Gov. Greg Abbott $6 million in December, Texas Tribune, January 16, 2024.
  13. OpenSecrets, 2022 Top Donors to Outside Spending Groups OpenSecrets, Accessed August 10, 2023.
  14. OpenSecrets, Yass, Jeffrey S & Janine: Donor Detail, OpenSecrets, Accessed August 10, 2023.
  15. Michela Tindera, These Billionaire Donors Spent The Most Money On The 2020 Election, Forbes, February 25, 2021.
  16. Michela Tindera, This Secretive Billionaire Is One Of America’s Biggest Conservative Donors Forbes, April 16, 2021.
  17. Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger, Paul Kiel, Jeff Ernsthausen and Doris Burke, Meet the Billionaire and Rising GOP Mega-Donor Who’s Gaming the Tax System, ProPublica, June 21, 2022.
  18. Akela Lacey, Centrist Democratic PAC’s Sole Funder is a Republican Megadonor, The Intercept, January 25, 2023.
  19. Nettanel Slyomovics, The U.S. Billionaires Secretly Funding the Right-wing Effort to Reshape Israel, Haaretz, March 11, 2021.
  20. Justin Elliott, Jesse Eisinger, Paul Kiel, Jeff Ernsthausen and Doris Burke, Meet the Billionaire and Rising GOP Mega-Donor Who’s Gaming the Tax System, ProPublica, June 21, 2022.