Business & Lobbying

Billionaire Trump donor hires lobbyists to help vets

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A billionaire donor to President Trump’s campaign has hired a lobbying team staffed with former members of Congress to advocate for mental health funding for veterans.

Hedge fund manager Steven Cohen, who also gave $1 million to help fund Trump’s inauguration ceremony, personally retained McDermott Will & Emery.

The firm will be advocating on “efforts to increase access to mental health care for veterans; efforts to increase federal funding for PTSD-related research,” according to a lobbying disclosure form that became available to the public on Monday afternoon.

{mosads}Work began in May, the document says, and includes two lawmakers-turned-lobbyists, former Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Jeff Miller (R-Fla.). Miller, who retired at the end of the last Congress, has a one-year cooling off period from lobbying his former colleagues. He is free, however, to lobby the executive branch.

Cohen has supported causes connected to veterans, including establishing the Cohen Veterans Network, a set of mental health clinics that treats veterans and their families at no cost. There are five clinics now, but Cohen Veterans Network executive director Anthony Hassan says it aims to open 25 more.

Last year, he committed to investing $275 million over the course of a five-year period into projects aimed at curbing veteran suicides.

His son Robert served in the Marines and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. 

“Robert came home in good shape, but many of his friends did not,” Cohen said at an event in Washington last September at the Cohen Veterans Care Summit. “The treatments we have today fall short. There are no cures,” he said. “Together, we’re going to change that.”

In 2013, another foundation set up by Cohen and his wife donated $17 million to set up a research center at NYU Langone Medical Center centering on post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Cohen is also the chairman and CEO of Point72 Asset Management, which struck a deal with Securities and Exchange Commission in 2013 to settle insider-trading allegations. The firm, formerly called SAC Capital Advisors, hasn’t been able to invest outside money as part of that deal, which expires next year.

He is in the midst of making a comeback in the securities industry, according to The Wall Street Journal, aiming to grow his fund from the $11 billion held in his family office to as much as $20 billion — with the hopes of raising $9 billion from outside investors. It would reportedly be a record-breaking launch.

Eight employees from SAC Capital Advisors were convicted on criminal charges related to insider trading, and although Cohen himself was investigated, he was never charged. 

Cohen has a personal net worth of $13 billion, according to Forbes.

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