From Open Secrets:
Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund firm and one of the largest political contributors in American politics today, is a world made in the image of its leadership.
The firm rejects many of Wall Street’s routine practices. Rather than staffing up with whiz kids in finance, for instance, Renaissance looks for analysts with backgrounds in science and mathematics. — much like mathematicians-turned-managers James Simons, 78, now the firm’s chairman, and Robert Mercer, 69, its co-CEO.
To say they’ve raked in money would be an understatement. Between 1994 and 2014, Renaissance’s Medallion fund averaged a 71.8% annual return before fees. In 2008, it produced a 98.2% return despite the onset of a global economic recession. In recent years, like other top hedge fund managers, Mercer and Simons have been pouring a bit of their personal fortunes into politics.
On the Center for Responsive Politics’ megadonors list, Mercer and Simons hold the first and the fifth spots respectively. Combined, the two men and their wives have so far contributed more than $29.5 million to political organizations during the 2016 cycle: Mercer has spent upwards of $18.5 million while Simons has laid out about $11.5 million. Reportedly, Mercer is now considering throwing his support, and his money, to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.
In both cases, these figures represent significant upticks from contribution totals in previous election cycles. Since 2006, Simons has spent a total of about $30.6 million while Mercer has spent about $34.9 million.
That’s not to say their money lands…