Republican megadonor and hedge fund executive Paul Singer went into attack mode at a dinner honoring Education Secretary Betsy DeVos this week, targeting what he described as a rising threat of socialism within the Democratic Party.
The comments offered a glimpse into the mentality of a powerful GOP donor as he decides how he's going to contribute to the 2020 election. Singer is a billionaire and the founder of Elliott Management.
Singer, speaking at the Manhattan Institute's Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner on Wednesday, warned conservatives that policies pushed by Democratic presidential candidates pose a risk to U.S. economic growth under President Donald Trump.
"Yet despite all this, socialism is on the march again," said Singer, who is chairman of the conservative think tank.
"They call it socialism, but it is more accurately described as left-wing statism lubricated by showers of free stuff promised by politicians who believe that money comes from a printing press rather than the productive efforts of businesspeople and workers," he added.
An Elliott Management spokesman confirmed the remarks to CNBC and declined to comment further.
Singer also attacked the Green New Deal, a sweeping set of policies aimed at creating jobs and curtailing the threats of climate change.
"The so-called Green New Deal, the latest progressive attempt to engineer our way of life and vest power in the administrative state, is now the standard of nearly every Democratic candidate for president," he said. "Setting out to sell this utopia to the American people isn't merely irresponsible political rhetoric, it is outright deceit."
Singer rarely discusses his political ideologies in public but appears to have been more comfortable in front of a group people largely associated with his organization. During the 2016 presidential election, Singer was a vocal opponent of then-candidate Trump and, a year earlier, was the financier of a conservative website that hired Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on the business executive-turned-Republican nominee for president.
Since Trump became president, Singer has donated to super PACs and committees that back the commander in chief. In October 2018, he spent $1 million on Future45, a super PAC dedicated to helping Trump, according to Federal Election Commission records. He also gave more than $500,000 to the Republican National Committee last cycle, which has put its resources into helping members of congress and reelecting the president.
The Manhattan Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank that focuses on impacting economic policies within New York and across the country.
The event was the institute's 19th annual Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner and was awarding DeVos along with the group's departing president, Larry Mone.
It's unclear how DeVos was selected for the award but the institute's website says they go to "individuals who help to foster the revitalization of our nation's cities."