Tech mogul Peter Thiel has reportedly been luring some unlikely Republican donors with unconventional pitches, according to a new report.
The PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor has given $10 million of his own money to a super PAC supporting GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters, with whom he created a non-fungible token (NFT) that raised another half-million dollars, and $10 million to a super PAC for J.D. Vance, the venture capitalist and author of "Hillbilly Elegy," reported Politico.
“He’s a well-known business leader, a well-known thought leader for political conservatives, and he’s also I think a very influential person in the crypto community,” Vance said, “and so I think all three of those [groups of] people are just interested in what he has to say, and I think that makes his support very helpful.”
The cash has been coming from largely apolitical Silicon Valley types or "crypto bros," as one person described them, who aren't typical GOP donors, and candidates in other races are trying to attract Thiel's attention.
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According to Politico, the billionaire has held three closed-door fundraisers, where donors bid thousands of dollars through Twitter raffles for a chance to eat dinner with Thiel, on behalf of Masters and Vance.
The dinners are intimate affairs in private rooms at upscale restaurants, and the conversations cover topics from the 2016 and 2020 elections to China, cryptocurrency, robotics and UFOs, and sometimes touch on "deepfakes" or Jeffrey Epstein.
“[Donors] want to get to know [Thiel], they want to understand what makes him tick, they want to understand who he is and spend time with him,” said Lanhee Chen, a candidate for state controller in California who has met with Thiel.
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