Senate

Reports: Thiel Backing GOP Candidates For Power And Profits

In case you missed it, two recent reports on Max Chafkin’s new Peter Thiel-focused book help to explain why the tech billionaire and Facebook board member has already dumped at least $20 million into buying the Ohio and Arizona GOP U.S. Senate primaries for former employee JD Vance and current employee Blake Masters.

In short, Chafkin argues, “I think it’s better for Thiel’s interests if he has political allies in power. And I think that’s part of why he’s spending way more money in this Senate race than he ever has. I think that’s a big reason.”

Politico: The Black Box of Peter Thiel’s Beliefs

By Katelyn Fossett | September 20, 2021

  • ​​“[I]n the case of Vance and Masters, they both kind of worked for him. Masters literally still works for him; he’s the COO of Thiel Capital, and Vance doesn’t work for Thiel, but Thiel was a major investor in his venture capital fund.”
  • “[I]n the long run, obviously, I think it’s better for Thiel’s interests if he has political allies in power. And I think that’s part of why he’s spending way more money in this Senate race than he ever has. I think that’s a big reason.”

Bloomberg Businessweek: Peter Thiel Gamed Silicon Valley, Donald Trump, and Democracy to Make Billions, Tax-Free

By Max Chafkin | September 15, 2021

  • “According to a person who worked on the transition who asked to remain anonymous to avoid angering Thiel or Trump, Thiel and Masters ‘basically allied themselves with the alt-right. They chose disruption over normalcy, and it backfired.’ That, of course, assumed that Thiel’s goals were only political. But many who have worked closely with him say that assessment is wrong; Thiel wasn’t playing for influence. He was playing for money.”
  • “Thiel would seem to push the government toward Palantir in other ways. He urged Trump to fire Francis Collins, the longtime director of the National Institutes of Health and an accomplished geneticist […] This had implications for Palantir, which would have considered the NIH, a massive user of data, a ripe target for its salespeople […] Bannon resisted the effort but agreed to have Collins come to New York in early January to interview for his current job. The agenda included a lunch with Thiel and Masters […] It appears, in retrospect, to have been the beginning of a very successful sales pitch. Collins would be reappointed, and, the following year, the NIH would give Palantir a $7 million contract to help the agency keep track of the research data it was collecting. There would be many more contracts.
  • “Like Vance’s, the Masters platform reads like an extension of Thiel’s worldview, combining Trump-style immigration politics […], complaints about diversity efforts, and plans to rein in tech companies, especially ones in which Thiel doesn’t have an interest. His Thiel-backed PAC recently aired an advertisement attacking a fellow candidate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, for refusing to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.”
  • “Masters and Vance “are, in other words, as out there as Thiel is. Even better, Masters and Vance both work for Thiel, and not just in the sense that his PAC is paying for TV advertising on their behalf. Masters remains chief operating officer of Thiel Capital and president of the Thiel Foundation; Thiel is a key investor in Narya, Vance’s investment firm.”

Read more from Politico here and Businessweek here.

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