Jeffrey Yass, floated as Trump’s Treasury Secretary, tries to bail Trump out financially

Photo: Marshall Segal and Oliver Douilery, GETTY IMAGES. Graphic: Desiree Tapia

By Sean Kitchen

March 25, 2024

Pennsylvania’s richest billionaire was recently floated as a possible candidate to be Trump’s Treasury Secretary.

News of Jeffrey Yass’ financial connections to former President Donald Trump broke on Friday after it was reported that Yass became the largest private investor in Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social.

Yass, who was recently named a leading candidate for US Treasury Secretary should Trump retake the White House this November, is worth over $28 billion thanks to his investments in TikTok and is the Republican Party’s largest mega donor going into the 2024 election cycle.

“What a danger to our society. The fact that the sixth richest man in the country, the richest man in Pennsylvania, is hooking up with Donald Trump,” Bishop Dwayne Royster, the Executive Director of POWER Interfaith, a progressive religious organization\, said in an interview with The Keystone.

“Yass is positioning himself to be able to have extreme political influence and to be able to have a say in the regime that Donald Trump could potentially have if he gets really elected as president of the United States, it would make him incredibly influential.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Yass’ investment firm, Susquehanna International Group (SIG), is the largest institutional shareholder in Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC), which announced that it was merging with Trump’s social media platform in October 2021.

SIG holds more than two times the amount of shares in DWAC according to the company’s most recent filings, and SIG has owned that stock since the merger between DWAC and Trump Media was originally announced. Trump is reportedly going to net $3 billion from the merger at a time when he needs money the most.

Trump, who previously supported a ban on TikTok, met with Yass at a Club for Growth retreat earlier this month and reversed his stance on the ban after meeting with the investor. Yass owns 15% of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, and Trump named Yass as a possible candidate for US Treasury Secretary should Trump win in November.

Defunding and undermining public education in favor of charter schools and private school vouchers are Yass’ main motivations for getting involved in politics and his money helps rightwing anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ politicians and candidates who’ll deliver on anti-public education crusade.

In Pennsylvania, Yass has funneled more than $53 million dollars through a network of conservative political action committees (PACs) since 2018 to help elect right-wing Republicans from school board races to statewide elections.

Yass puts his money in his Students First PAC and sends it to the Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund, which then spends most of that money promoting candidates through campaign mailers or media and social media advertisements.

The right-wing billionaire has spent more than $46 million nationally in 2024, making him the largest Republican mega donor, according to Axios. Yass reportedly has $16 million to the Club for Growth PAC and $10 million to Congressional Leadership PAC that helps elect Republicans.

Yass spent millions of dollars trying to elect anti-abortion Republicans in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia during the 2023 election. He spent $5 million trying to elect Republican judges for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and two lower courts.

Yass also gave $6 million to three PACs supporting Kentucky Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s failed campaign against incumbent Democratic Governor Andy Bashear, and in Virginia, the billionaire gave $2 million to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s PAC in an unsuccessful bid to flip the Virginia legislature.

“I think any politician that tells you that the biggest donors that they have that put money in their PACs through a variety of means…that they say that they don’t have some level of influence about what they’re doing is actually lying,” Royster said.

“People like Jeff Yass don’t give out money for goodwill. He gives out money because he wants something in return.”



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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