By Jonathan Swan - 01/15/16 05:17 PM EST
Ted CruzTed CruzThe Trail 2016: On the fringe FULL SPEECH: Hillary Clinton links Trump to 'alt-right' in Reno Presidential hopefuls still bank on retail politics MORE is no fan of “New York values” but the Republican presidential candidate has found rival Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTeamsters endorse Clinton Sanders, Merkley back McConnell decision to skip TPP vote Poll: Clinton up 5 over Trump nationally MORE’s home town to be a lucrative source of donations throughout his brief political career.
Not only that, but Cruz’s second-largest super-PAC contribution — a check for $11 million — came from financier Robert Mercer, whose hedge fund Renaissance Technologies is headquartered in East Setauket, N.Y.
Cruz’s New York-based presidential campaign donors include executives at Wall Street firms, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup and, among others, the hedge fund Paulson & Co., founded by billionaire John Paulson. Cruz's fourth-quarter contributions will not be released by the Federal Election Commission until Jan. 31.
Cruz tried to use Thursday night’s Republican debate in South Carolina to taint Trump with a city the senator portrayed as morally inferior.
“Everyone understands the values in New York City are socially liberal, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and focus around money and the media,” Cruz said. “Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan.”
Trump rebutted Cruz’s attack with an invocation of 9/11, and on Friday morning, prominent New Yorkers including Republican Rep. Pete King accused Cruz of hypocrisy and worse.
“What Ted Cruz said was outrageous, it was disgusting, it was hypocritical,” King said Friday on CNN.
“I mean, for one thing, his wife works at a large investment bank in New York ... and he’s always coming to New York to raise money for Republicans — including gay Republicans, who he tells behind closed doors he’ll look the other way on gay marriage,” he added.
While Cruz’s wife is on leave as managing director of Goldman Sachs’s Houston office, her company's employees and political action committee have given him at least $96,700 in hard dollar contributions to his Senate account — the fifth most generous by company to Cruz, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’s analysis.
Campaign finance data and publicly sourced fundraising invitations and news reports bear out King's other arguments.
As recently as Dec. 9, Cruz held a fundraising lunch on Madison Avenue, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that tracks political fundraising events on its Political Party Time website. Among the co-hosts were venture capitalist Ken Abramowitz and prominent attorney Bob Giuffra. Neither could be reached for comment on Friday.
Because of Cruz's attendance at the fundraiser, the conservative publication National Review ran a negative headline: “Cruz Skips ISIS Hearing for Fox News Appearance, NY Fundraiser.”
Cruz’s comments were also secretly recorded by an attendee at one of his Manhattan fundraising events and leaked to Politico’s Mike Allen and a reporter at The New York Times.
Asked whether fighting gay marriage was a top-three priority, Cruz told a gay-rights supporter at the event that it wasn't — though he clarified that upholding the Constitution was his overriding focus. (Conservatives often argue that the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage breaches the Constitution.)
At the event, Cruz also questioned the judgment of Trump and his other outsider rival Ben Carson in tougher ways than he had up until that point in the primary campaign.
And last April, Cruz attended a Manhattan fundraising reception at the home of two well-known gay hoteliers, The New York Times reported. According to the newspaper’s account of the gathering, Cruz struck a gentler tone on gay marriage than he does on the stump, saying he would love his daughters no differently if one of them were gay. He reportedly avoided the subject of gay marriage, saying only that it was an issue best left to the states.
Cruz has had some fundraising success in the Empire State before, having raised a good deal of money there for his 2012 Senate campaign in Texas. While most of his $9.7 million in donations above $200 came from Texas, Cruz, an unlikely victor in that race, still managed to haul in $301,297 from New York-based donors, according to The Hill’s analysis of Federal Election Commission records.
Asked how Cruz's attack on New York values squared with his prolific fundraising in the state, campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said, "The American people understand exactly what Ted Cruz is talking about.
"There are many in New York who don’t embrace the big government, liberal values that a large portion of the Manhattan elites do, and we are immensely grateful for their support."