Pennsylvania’s richest billionaire could lose big on possible TikTok ban

In this photo illustration, the social media application logo, TikTok is displayed on the screen of an iPhone on an American flag background on August 3, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia.(Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

By Sean Kitchen

March 14, 2024

Jeffrey Yass, who is worth over $28 billion, could lose a lot of money if Congress bans TikTok. The billionaire owns close to 15% of the platform.

Pennsylvania’s richest billionaire and largest Republican mega donor, Jeffrey Yass, stands to lose from US House Republicans’ attempt to ban the popular social media platform, TikTok.


Yass, who has given tens of millions of dollars to Pennsylvania and national Republicans through a network of political action committees, invests in ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, through his private investing firm, Susquehanna International Group. He owns roughly 15% of the social media platform.

As TikTok has grown, the billionaire’s net worth has skyrocketed over the past few years from $2 billion to roughly $28.5 billion, making him the richest billionaire in the commonwealth.

The US House voted 352-65 on Wednesday to force the China-based ByteDance to sell TikTok to American owned investors within six months of the bill becoming law. US Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), Scott Perry (R-York) and Summer Lee (D-Allegheny) were the only members from Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to vote against the bill.

The bill’s future remains uncertain in the US Senate according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, but President Joe Biden said he would sign the bill should it make it to his desk.

Over the past several years, Yass’ political contributions to right-wing conservatives in Pennsylvania and around the country have grown along with his wealth.

In Pennsylvania, Yass has given at least $35 million to right-wing Republicans running for office since 2018. He has given at least $60 million to congressional Republicans during that time as well.

The mega-billionaire’s money often finds its way going towards anti-abortion, right-wing extremists who support defunding public schools and replacing them with charter or private schools.

Last year, Yass’ money funded anti-abortion candidates in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Virginia.

Pennsylvania Republican Supreme Court candidate Carolyn Carluccio, who deleted an anti-abortion resume from her campaign website, received $4 million from PACs associated with Yass.

Yass also gave $6 million to a trio of PACs supporting Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s failed gubernatorial campaign against Gov. Andy Beshear and $2 million to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s failed attempt to flip the Virginia legislature.

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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