Senate

Blake Masters “Can’t Seem to Stop Promoting Thiel Businesses.”

A new report from The Daily Beast highlights that Arizona Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters “can’t seem to stop promoting” his tech billionaire longtime boss and top campaign backer Peter Thiel’s business interests during the course of his Senate campaign.

As the piece notes, “Almost all of [Masters] adult life has been tied in some way to Thiel.” And over the past year, Thiel has propped up Masters’ Senate campaign with a $10 million super PAC contribution, multiple joint appearances, and a slew of Thiel-linked campaign fundraising stunts.

And over that time period, The Daily Beast reports“Masters repeatedly used the platform of his candidacy to shill for his own financial interests, as well as those of his then-boss—a pattern that has extended to campaign fundraising.”

So, even though Masters claims he left his job with Thiel last month, the two remain deeply connected — including because Masters “participates in an ‘executive bonus plan’ based on Thiel Capital investments, which will vest through Jan. 1, 2023.”

The Daily Beast: The Epic Back-Scratching Fest Between a GOP Senate Wannabe and a Trumpy Billionaire

Former Peter Thiel employee Blake Masters is running for Senate in Arizona. He just can’t seem to stop promoting Thiel businesses.

By Roger Sollenberger, 4/10/22

Key Points:

  • “Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters has made no secret of his connections to his longtime business partner and biggest political benefactor, billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel. But new reporting shows that Masters can’t seem to quit promoting Thiel businesses on the campaign trail—and that Thiel or Masters can’t seem to stop making questionable in-kind contributions.”
  • “Almost all of [Masters] adult life has been tied in some way to Thiel, a billionaire Facebook investor and former board member Masters met while studying at Stanford Law School.”
  • “Masters repeatedly used the platform of his candidacy to shill for his own financial interests, as well as those of his then-boss—a pattern that has extended to campaign fundraising.”
  • “Those interests have included major Thiel-backed corporations. The two largest, Palantir and Anduril, do billions of dollars of business with the federal government. Masters plugged both of them in a New York Post interview kicking off his candidacy last July […] And in an address to a local chapter of Arizona Republicans the next month, Masters appeared to promote that technology again.” 
  • “Masters has also proselytized the [Thiel-backed] online alternative video platform Rumble, saying in a February interview, ‘We invested in Rumble, which I think is a really good company.’”
  • “On March 11, days before announcing his exit from the Thiel groups, Masters went on Fox News’ most viewed show and pumped another Thiel investment, an alternative search engine called ‘Brave.’”
  • “Five days later, Masters announced he’d left the Thiel entities. That day, Puck News reported Thiel was hosting another fundraiser to support Masters, at least the fourth such event so far.”
  • “But Masters’ connections to Thiel stretch far beyond those groups—Thiel Capital, where he served as COO, and the nonprofit Thiel Foundation, where he was president. Unaddressed questions still lurk behind those entities, as well.”
  • “[Masters] also participates in an ‘executive bonus plan’ based on Thiel Capital investments, which will vest through Jan. 1, 2023. It’s unclear whether he retained that plan upon his departure.”
  • “Returning to Masters’ personal financial disclosure, Thiel Capital plays a dual role. It also happens to be the entity that compensates Masters hundreds of thousands of dollars for book sales. That arrangement is notable, because Zero to One has in recent months become the keystone for Masters’ political fundraising efforts.”
  • “The Masters campaign has regularly promoted Zero to One, saying the 2014 collection of Thiel’s 2012 lectures articulates Masters’ vision for America’s future. Since December, his campaign has held two NFT sweepstakes connected to the book, both of which offer donors an array of Thiel-adjacent prizes, including hardcover copies signed and personalized by both co-authors.”
  • “‘This further underscores how Masters’ candidacy is almost inseparable from its billionaire backer,’ [Documented Deputy Executive Director Brendan] Fischer said. ‘Thiel helped launch Masters’ career, dumped $10 million into a super PAC backing Masters, appeared with Masters at a Club for Growth donor summit, and is deeply and personally involved with raising money for Masters’ campaign.’”

Read the full report here.

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