Dem Mega-Donor Maxes Out to ‘Independent’ Kansas Senate Hopeful

After bankrolling Harry Reid’s super PAC, Jim Simons gives $2,600 to Greg Orman

Hedge fund manager Jim Simons / AP

Greg Orman is still being coy about his partisan allegiances, but more high-dollar Democratic donors are lining up behind his independent U.S. Senate run in Kansas.

The latest Democratic heavyweight to back his campaign is hedge fund billionaire Jim Simons, who gave the $2,600 maximum to Orman’s campaign this month, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Simons has poured money into Democratic campaigns and outside spending groups during the 2014 cycle, including $2 million to Senate Majority PAC, the well-funded Super PAC looking to keep Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) in control of Congress’ upper chamber.

If elected, Orman says he wouldn’t vote to give the gavel to either Reid or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). However, he has refused to say whether he would caucus with Senate Democrats or Republicans.

Supporters of Sen. Pat Roberts, the incumbent Republican, note that Orman previously ran for Senate as a Democrat and say his purported independence is a sham.

Republicans have also pointed to backing for Orman’s campaign from prominent Democrats as indicative of his partisan leanings.

At a debate last week, Roberts himself brought up a recent Orman fundraiser co-hosted by Jonathan Soros, son of billionaire Democratic financier George Soros and a member of the Democracy Alliance, a secretive left-wing donor network.

Simons’ support for Orman could fuel that line of attack. While not as well known as Soros, he has given millions to Democratic candidates, party organs, and interest groups.

Simons founded Renaissance Technologies, a New York-based hedge fund management company that is currently facing at least two federal investigations as well as congressional scrutiny over efforts to shield income from U.S. taxes.

Reniassance and its Medallion hedge funds also provide a source of revenue for the Sea Change Foundation, a group run by Simons’ son Nathaniel, also a major Democratic donor, and his wife.

Sea Change came under congressional scrutiny after the Washington Free Beacon reported that it was funneling money from a shell company in Bermuda to leading liberal think tanks and activist groups in the Untied States.

The Orman campaign did not respond to a request for comment.