WHYY by Katie Meyer, May 12, 2021
The richest man in Pennsylvania is poised to spend millions of dollars influencing upcoming elections — all while trying to keep his name away from the political spotlight. Montgomery County billionaire Jeff Yass, a professional gambler turned powerful Wall Street trader, has long been a major donor to conservative causes in Pennsylvania. He’s particularly well known for putting tens of millions of dollars into the commonwealth’s school choice movement. With Pennsylvania gearing up to redraw its congressional districts, choose a new Supreme Court justice in the fall, and elect a U.S. Senator and a governor next year — along with a slew of congressional and state House and Senate races — Yass has poured $10.5 million of his own money into his political action committee, Students First, over the past six months, before transferring that same amount to a different conservative PAC with a stated mission to further school choice. The money in that PAC, the Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund, is still mostly unspent. As of its last filing, the fund had nearly $11.5 million on hand, nearly all from Yass.
Director’s note: Since 2010, Jeff Yass’ Students First PAC has made over $35 million in Pennsylvania campaign contributions. (Source: PA Department of State Campaign Finance, Students First PAC Campaign Finance Profile)