GOP donor: More regs, legal gay marriage

Aug. 16, 2012 at 3:00 AM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- One of the biggest donors to Paul Ryan's political action committee told Romney campaign officials they need to tighten, not loosen, U.S. financial regulation.

Billionaire Paul Singer -- founder and chief executive officer of hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. and one of the Republican Party's most influential donors -- said the presumptive GOP presidential nominee and running mate Ryan should make a case for tougher bank regulation.

He called for regulation that would go beyond that of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act -- signed into law by President Barack Obama July 21, 2010, and touted as among the most significant reforms of U.S. financial regulation since regulatory reforms that followed the Great Depression.

Singer said in his quarterly investor letter, which he sent to Romney officials with a plea to make the case, that Dodd-Frank was "ill-conceived" and could cause a financial "black hole."

Instead, Singer said he wanted more stringent capital requirements and a regulatory framework that forces big banks to be more transparent about liabilities and assets, debts and financing activities not on company balance sheets.

"Conservatives who believe in free markets should also believe in sound fair markets," Singer told the Financial Times in an interview published Thursday.

"Private reward and public risk is not what conservatives should want," he said.

"It is the big, highly leveraged financial institutions which are opaque and were instrumental in the financial collapse," Singer told the newspaper. "They will likely lobby against the fixes that I believe are necessary. But the fixes are essential. If they do not occur, the next financial crisis could be similar to the last one, but perhaps more sudden and intense."

The Romney campaign said in a statement Romney would "implement a sensible, streamlined regulatory framework that doesn't overly burden small banks or hurt small businesses."

"This regulation will include enhanced capital requirements and greater transparency for our financial institutions," the statement said, adding Romney believed the current regulatory system was "poorly equipped to deal with dynamic and evolving markets."

Singer, who turns 68 Aug. 22, told the Financial Times he had no political ambitions. When asked if he would take a role in a Romney administration, he said he had no interest in serving in government and would run his $16 billion hedge fund.

Elliott Management investment adviser Dan Senor, a Singer colleague, was recently appointed a top Romney foreign policy adviser.

Singer told the newspaper he also disagrees with Romney and Ryan on same-sex marriage, supporting efforts to legalize it in four states voting on the issue in November.

He said he has given nearly $10 million to gay rights causes.

Singer has a son who is gay and married his partner in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is legal.

"I have several friends who are very, very orthodox social conservatives," Singer said. "We agree on 80 [percent] to 90 percent of the issues, and disagree on gay marriage. And that's acceptable. I'll keep making my case. It's absolutely necessary.

"I feel very strongly that Republicans are right on most issues. With continued work on marriage equality, I hope to persuade more Republicans of its rightness too," he said.

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