Despite Sanctions, Democratic Donor Stays on Board of State-Owned Russian Firm

Democrat David Bonderman has made $4 million in political donations

Vladimir Putin / AP

David Bonderman, who has contributed millions of dollars to Democratic candidates and groups, remains on the advisory board of a Russian state-owned investment firm despite the economic sanctions placed by the United States on Russia this week, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bonderman is among six American private equity professionals that remain members of the Russian Direct Investment Fund's advisory board.

Some of the world’s leading private equity deal makers including David Bonderman, Leon Black and Stephen Schwarzman continue to serve on an advisory board of a Russian state-owned investment fund, despite wide-ranging economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European Union on Russia. [...]

For the private-equity professionals, having their names associated with a state-owned fund in Russia won't sit well with authorities, said John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor and director of the school's Center on Corporate Governance. [...]

The U.S. issued sanctions this week, prohibiting U.S. persons from providing new debt financing of longer than 90 days' maturity or new equity to certain Russian entities. TheEuropean Union confirmed similar measures on Thursday, also identifying five state-owned Russian banks that will fall under the sanctions. [...]

Private-equity advisers to RDIF are now stuck between a rock and a hard place: Quitting the board risks offending Russian President Vladimir Putin and damaging relationships they have built up in that country. Staying on may be seen as acquiescing to Russia's foreign policy and risks running afoul of Western sanctions.

Bonderman has been an active political donor for decades, shelling out nearly $4 million to candidates since 1984.

Nearly all of those donations have gone to Democratic candidates and groups, including $130,000 to the Democratic National Committee and $175,000 to the liberal Majority PAC.

Published under: Democratic Donors , Russia