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Steven Cohen Embraces Irony, Backs Ads Slamming John Kasich’s Wall Street Ties

February 10, 2016, 3:59 PM UTC
Key Speakers At The Robin Hood Veterans Summit
Steven "Steve" Cohen, chairman and chief executive officer of SAC Captial Advisors LP, speaks during the Robin Hood Veterans Summit in New York, U.S., on Monday, May 7, 2012. The one-day summit discusses transitioning the country's armed forces personnel back to civilian life. Photographer: via Getty Images
Photograph by Scott Eells — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hating on Wall Street and the financial industry is hot this election cycle, on both sides of the political aisle. But the latest attack on John Kasich from the Chris Christie camp has to be the strangest, mostly because of who it is coming from — hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen.

The ad shows Kasich saying he “was a banker” and “was proud of that.” It highlights his having worked at Lehman Brothers, the bank that collapsed during the financial crisis. It also claims that “in Congress, John Kasich voted to give Wall Street banks a blank check.”

Now, criticism of Kasich’s Wall Street ties may be fair, but it’s hard to take seriously considering the source. The ad was produced by America Leads, a pro-Christie Super PAC. Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital Advisers, has donated millions to the group. Another donor is Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. For these guys to rail against Wall Street ties is a bit laughable.

Ultimately, the attack didn’t work, as Kasich finished second in New Hampshire and Christie finished in sixth, likely ending his campaign.