Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s newly appointed chief fundraiser, is making his pitch to prominent hedge fund investors in his quest to raise $1 billion for the GOP presumptive nominee’s general election campaign.
The New York Times reports that Mnuchin flew to Las Vegas to brush elbows with prominent business tycoons on Wednesday during the nation’s largest hedge fund conference, the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference, or SALT.
According to the Times, Mnuchin attended a dinner that included a hodgepodge of billionaire hedge fund managers and Republican politicians like Kenneth C. Griffin, former CIA director David Petraeus and former House Speaker John Boehner. The host of the exclusive soiree was Anthony Scaramucci, founder and co-partner of SkyBridge Capital investment firm and a recent Trump supporter.
Last week, Trump raised eyebrows when he tapped Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and Hollywood producer, as his lead fundraiser.
As TheWrap previously reported, critics of Mnuchin have accused him of pocketing millions stolen by Bernie Madoff, prominently backing Hillary Clinton, and bankrupting Relativity Media, the studio responsible for “The Fighter,” among other films.
Whether Mnuchin is able to recruit wealthy hedge fund donors remains to be seen. Many have been apprehensive about backing Trump, worried about his proposed plans to end tax advantages and loopholes that benefit hedge fund executives. Others are taking a wait-and-see approach after donating to the failed campaigns of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.
But there are signs that at least some in the hedge fund community are coming around. Scaramucci, for example, was until recently one of Trump’s biggest critics, calling him a “hack politician” just a year ago.
Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, who last year backed Bush, has also hopped on the Trump train.
But, according to the Times, Mncuhin still has his work cut out for him with some hedge fund managers in Vegas expressing concerns, both privately and publicly, that they’re still uneasy about the prospect of a Trump presidency and its potential risk to the economy.