Dave McCormick’s hedge fund made bets against American steel companies

Dave McCormick

A general view of the exterior of the U.S. Steel Tower, headquarters of USX Steel, on March 20, 2024 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nippon Steel has said that it would relocate its U.S. headquarters from Houston to Pittsburgh, where U.S. Steel (X.N) is located, if their acquisition deal goes through. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

By Sean Kitchen

June 21, 2024

Dave McCormick blasted the sale of US Steel the day after it happened, but federal tax forms from 2021 show Bridgewater Associates shorted seven American steel manufacturers, including US Steel. 

It’s been a little more than six months since Nippon Steel, Japan’s largest steel company, announced that it purchased US Steel for $14.9 billion, which was met with universal pushback from the United Steelworkers and political figures alike. 

Dave McCormick, a former Connecticut-based hedge fund manager challenging US Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) this fall, called the sale a “tragedy” in a video on X the day after it occurred. 

“Nippon Steel has been subsidized by the Japanese government and has dumped steel on the US market. We can’t reward that behavior,” McCormick said in the video. 

But tax documents filed with the US Department of Labor shows that Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, shorted seven American owned steel companies for a combined value of $84 million when McCormick was the firm’s CEO in 2021. McCormick served as the company’s President from 2009 to 2020 and CEO from 2020 to to 2022. 

Bridgewater Equity Fund bet against Carpenter Technology, Cleveland-Cliffs, Commercial Metals, Nucor, Reliance Steel & Aluminum, Steel Dynamics, and US Steel. Cleveland Cliffs employs over 2,800 hundred workers in Pennsylvania while Bridgewater was betting against the company. 

Short selling, or shorting, allows investors like Bridgewater Associates to profit off a stock’s decline, meaning they make money as the company they are betting against loses money and performs badly. 

While Bridgewater Associates was betting on the demise of American owned steel companies, they were investing in foreign competitors. The firm invested $4.6 million in Nippon Steel and $13.3 million in Chinese steel companies that dump cheap steel onto American soil in 2021. 

“I think that Dave McCormick is running to be a typical politician, and in his private life, he’s made money betting against American steel workers and American steel companies,” Bernie Hall, the Pennsylvania Director for the United Steelworkers (USW), said in an interview. 

Hall, a fourth generation steelworker, said McCormick’s remarks and actions were “insulting” and “infuriating.” 

“He doesn’t really care about US Steel being sold in Nippon. I mean, he’s shown that you don’t have to listen to his words, look at his actions and how he’s made his money over the years,” Hall said. 

“To have someone so blatantly, obviously pandering for votes at a time when people were so concerned about not just their jobs, but the future of those Mon Valley communities, it’s infuriating.” 

McCormick’s campaign refused to provide comment for this story.

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.

CATEGORIES: NATIONAL POLITICS
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