Media Release: Keystone Progress, April 30, 2015
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– Today, a new report unveiled at City Hall, showed how the controversial Susquehanna International Group (SIG) is leveraging direct ties to the Koch Brothers, Scott Walker, and right-wing groups to try to influence the Philadelphia mayoral race.
The explosive report, High-Frequency Hucksters: Right Wing Financial Traders from The Suburbs Bet Big On The Philadelphia Mayoral Race, developed by Keystone Progress in conjunction with Hedge Clippers, highlights how Susquehanna International Group (SIG) is trying to bankroll Anthony Williams’s mayoral campaign and inject right-wing causes into the upcoming Democratic primary, including restricting minority voting rights, tax policies that favor the rich, and the privatization of public schools.
“Anthony Hardy Williams has a disturbing pattern of flirting with the far right,” said Keystone Progress Executive Director Michael Morrill. “He is a long-time supporter of vouchers, charter schools and other right-wing schemes to weaken public schools. Keystone Progress uncovered that Williams has, in the past, used taxpayer dollars to attend events held by the ultra-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council as a state legislator, while aggressively denying his connection to the organization. This is how he operates.”
After spending more than $6 million on Williams’ failed bid for Governor, Susquehanna International Group (SIG) now want to make him mayor. The partners of the firm—Joel Greenberg, Jeff Yass, and Arthur Dantchik–are willing to spend big to advance a right-wing agenda that benefits the one percent at the expense of regular Philadelphians, the report reveals.
The report’s examination of political donations by Greenberg, Yass, and Dantchik shows millions spent on Republican interests and thousands spent to elect Scott Walker, the Republican Wisconsin Governor who is reportedly running for President with support from the Koch brothers.
Here is the right-wing money trail the SIG partners have left in their wake:
- $4.6 million to the Cato Institute and Institute for Justice– two DC groups that lobby for tax policies that favor the rich and undercut investment in local communities.
- $2 million to the pro-privatization group Students First, founded by right-wing Amway heiress and conservative bankroller Betsy DeVos, sister of Erik Prince, the founder of the mercenary outfit formerly known as Blackwater.
- $30,000 spent on the election efforts of Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Governor who rolled back union rights in that state. More funds have also flowed to Walker from groups like the American Federation of Children, another beneficiary of SIG money.
- $20,000 to FreedomWorks, a group that helped lead the fight for “Voter ID” laws used to disenfranchise minority voters.
- Substantial financial backing of the “tax credit for school scholarships” scheme that the Philadelphia Inquirer said cost Pennsylvania $127 million, “despite minimal oversight, regulatory loopholes and little evidence of its effectiveness.”
The report also scrutinizes the record of Anthony Williams, and it explains why SIG is investing so heavily in Williams’ mayoral bid:
- In conjunction with the Corbett administration and Republicans, Williams was co-sponsor of the bill that created generous tax credits for businesses who contributed to private school scholarships, draining dollars for public schools.
- Williams was the sponsor of a bill that would circumvent local district’s control over charter schools.
- Williams supported legislation that would weaken teacher rights.