On Monday next week, ostensible populist Ted Cruz, who attended Harvard Law School and is married to a Goldman Sachs executive, will solicit money from a variety of Wall-Streeters at a fundraiser at the Harvard Club in midtown Manhattan. General admission is $1,000.
In his stump speeches, Cruz has condemned “crony capitalism” and banks that are “too big too fail.” He has set himself against the “New York values” of politicians like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. However, the Cruz campaign and outside groups supporting it have also thus far raised $12.5 million from the financial industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (Cruz’s primary backer is the reclusive billionaire and co-CEO of hedge fund behemoth Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer.)
Cruz had $8 million in the bank at the end of February, according to FEC filings, and raised $12 million in March, Politico reports. But that’s not nearly enough to make it through a contested convention, and the general election thereafter, and so the Texas senator is forced to thread the needle of hypocrisy once more, raising money from those he claims to despise: General admission at the event costs $1,000; attendance at a VIP reception costs $2,700; members of the host committee must commit to raising $10,800 for Cruz, and event chairs must raise $25,000 each.
Unsurprisingly, several members of the host committee have ties to the financial industry: Elliott Broidy, former chairman of Markstone Capital Group and former finance committee chairman for the Republican National Committee, plead guilty in a pay-to-play scandal in New York in 2009; Robert Giuffra is a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell, an international financial law firm based in New York; and Jean-Claude Gruffat was the managing director of Citigroup until 2011.
Politico spoke to a number of people in the finance industry—some named, some anonymous—who expressed, in the aggregate, a great deal of ambivalence about a Cruz candidacy. Most agreed that he’d be better for Wall Street than Trump, even in losing. (“Anybody who is really politically aware knows that it’s ultimately better to have Cruz go down in flames than for Trump to go down in flames. People are coming around to that. Cruz probably won’t take down the House and Senate with him,” said one senior banker.)
But even on Wall Street, people just...really don’t like him. “There is no point is supporting someone who can’t win,” said one CEO. “We would wind up with a guy nobody really likes who can’t appeal to the broad mass of the American electorate.” Then again, this same CEO also backed Jeb Bush and then Marco Rubio. “I’m done with 2016,” he said. “I’ve given up any belief that I know what’s going on.”