As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a theory about who's behind the mysterious "W Swann LLC" entity that contributed $1 million to the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future. Since A) I am sensing that the calls I made are not likely to lead to a quick confirmation, and B) I have too many other things to do before my upcoming vacation, I've decided I'll just blurt out my purely speculative theory, and let someone else try to verify or disprove it.
I think it might be closeted pro-gay money.
Bear with me.
W Swann, as I mentioned, gave its address as 590 Madison Ave. in New York, where Bain Capital has an office. But also in that building, on the 21st floor, is the office of Elliott Associates. Elliott's chairman is wealthy hedge fund magnate Paul E. Singer.
Singer was among a group of rich hedge fund managers reported to have gathered last August at the home of Steven Cohen, of SAC Capital Advisors, to discuss plans to work on ousting the evil anti-capitalist President and the hated congressional Democrats with their Dodd-Frankism. Singer went on to be one of the biggest funders of Republicans in the 2010 elections.
At least three of the other reported big-wigs at that August meeting are big Romney supporters -- not unusual among hedge fund managers. There was Dan Senor of Rosemont Capital, a close Romney advisor; John Paulson, of Paulson & Co., who gave a cool million (in his own name) to Restore Our Future; and Kenneth Griffin, of Citadel, who was an early Romney donor in 2007.
Singer was a big Rudy Giuliani supporter in the '08 race -- Giuliani actually received more money from Elliott Associates employees than from any other company.
It certainly would not be surprising if Singer is now on the Romney bandwagon, and that he would want to pump a large sum into the Super PAC. It's a logical choice, plus his pals Senor, Paulson & Griffin are backing Mitt, and my understanding is also that Singer has a relationship with Jim Talent, the former Missouri Senator who is Romney's top surrogate this time around.
The Ropes & Gray connection would not be surprising; that firm has worked with Singer and Elliott on deals, incuding a Ventrus Biosciences IPO just last month.
The question is: why would Singer want to hide his identity? He certainly hasn't been shy about other contributions.
The answer could be that it's not for Singer's sake, but for Romney's.
Singer was reported to be the main funder behind New Yorkers United for Marriage, a coalition formed earlier this year to advocate for legalizing same-sex marriage in that state. Singer, the New York Times reported, contributed $425,000 of his own money, and raised another half-million -- starting in late April, which is also when Romney's Super PAC deposited that million-dollar check from W Spann LLC. (Cohen, who I mentioned above, was another big NYUM funder.)
Singer's son, Andrew Singer-Morris, lives in Massachusetts, where he married his husband in 2009.
It seems to me that Romney's already-iffy standing among socially conservative GOP primary voters would take a major hit if it turned out that one of the country's biggest backers of gay marriage was writing million-dollar checks to help his election. So it would make sense that if -- and again this is all just speculation -- Singer is the giver, he might want to keep his identity hidden.
Anyway, that's my theory, and it's more benign than many of the possible alternatives, so I say: come out of the closet, Singer!