Nelson Peltz (left) and Joe Manchin
Wall Street veteran Nelson Peltz hosted a $5,000 plate fundraiser for Senator Joe Manchin at the sprawling Florida billionaire estate last month, where several top leaders said they privately hoped the conservative Democrat would switch parties and run against President Joe Biden in the 2024 election. CNBC found out.
Peltz, co-founder of investment fund Trian Partners, invited Manchin along with at least 50 executives to a dinner to raise funds for the West Virginia re-election campaign, according to one attendee. They declined to give their names to discuss the private event.
A spokeswoman for Peltz confirmed that the longtime CFO had set up the fundraiser and confirmed Manchin’s support for the billionaire. Emails to Manchin’s campaign office and a call to his Capitol Hill office were not immediately returned. Manchin has previously stated that he has no plans to change parties.
“Mr. Peltz supports Mr. Manchin. He believes that Mr. Manchin is a rare elected politician on both sides of the aisle who puts the country above the party, which Mr. Peltz believes is much needed in our country today.” – Ann Tarbell, Peltz. This was announced by a spokeswoman in an email to CNBC. Peltz told CNBC last year that he speaks to Manchin every week and has been friends with him for a decade.
Blackstone CEO Steve Schwartzman, along with Home Depot co-founders Ken Langone and Bernard Marcus, who are generally supportive of the Republicans, were among the leaders at the fundraiser, according to a person who attended the event. Also in attendance at the dinner was longtime investor Leon Cooperman, who contributed to both sides of the aisle.. Representatives for Schwartzman, Langone, Markus and Cooperman did not respond to requests for comment.
Over a chicken or fish lunch, Manchin told a crowd of donors that he planned to run for re-election in 2024, according to a participant. Manchin has previously said he would decide on re-election after the 2022 midterm elections.
The Peltz estate in Palm Beach, Florida is reported to be worth at least $95 million. Virtual Globetrotting, a website that tracks billionaire-owned mansions across the country, reveals that Peltz’s oceanfront mansion boasts an outdoor pool, tennis court and basketball court. Other high-profile events were held at this place, including fundraising for the then President Donald Trump as well as Peltz’s daughter Nikola’s wedding earlier this month to Brooklyn Beckhamson of football superstar David Beckham and former pop star Victoria Beckham.
Manchin could be re-elected in 2024, but his stance against key elements of his party’s and Biden’s agenda has previously led to an infusion of campaign donations from a host of special interests, including on Wall Street and Silicon Valley. With a 50-50 split in the Senate, Democrats can’t get much done without Manchin’s support, which has become a key vote on critical issues for both sides.
Manchin opposed Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill known as Build Back Better and dropped the idea of raising corporate taxes from 21% to 28%. He said he was willing to accept higher corporate taxes. toa maximum 25%. Manchin had also previously opposed his party’s proposal for wealth tax. Manchin opposed Biden’s selection of Sarah Bloom Raskin to the board of the Federal Reserve. The climate change activist withdrew her name from consideration after CNBC reported Manchin’s disagreement.
Federal Election Commission documents show that Home Depot co-founder Marcus gave two separate $2,900 checks last month to Manchin’s campaign. Cooperman contributed $5,000 to Manchin’s February re-election campaign. Schwartzman and Langone are not listed as Manchin’s donors in his latest documentation. Langone previously donated to the West Virginia legislator’s re-election campaign and his political action committee late last year. Langone also praised Manchin during a previous CNBC interview and said that he too would host a fundraising event for him. Manchin’s campaign raised over $1.3 million from January to the end of March, with just over $7 million in stock.
Although Manchin told the group he plans to run for Senate re-election as a Democrat, a small group of donors at the event privately said they hope he will switch parties and run as a Republican against Biden in 2024 for president instead, said participant.
The person noted that some of the Peltz event attendees who once supported Trump look to Manchin and his stance on some of his party’s policies as someone who could successfully run in the Republican primary and then possibly beat Biden.