Billionaire Ron Lauder pledges $25M to take down anti-Semitic candidates

Evie Fordham

Billionaire Ron Lauder is pledging $25 million to take down anti-Semitic candidates of both parties, he told The New York Times in an interview published Monday.

"Although I am a lifelong Republican, anti-Semitism knows no political party. I'm going after the right as well as the left," said Lauder, who is the son of the late cosmetics moguls Estee and Joseph Lauder.

Lauder is launching an organization called the Anti-Semitism Accountability Project (ASAP), which will be focused on "action," including researching candidates and airing television ads, he said.

"Because we've had polls, we’ve had conferences, we've had different speeches. But no action," he said.

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ASAP may take aim at Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, Lauder said. King was stripped of his committee assignments by House Republicans earlier this year following bipartisan condemnation of his recent remarks on white supremacy and white nationalism.

Lauder also said he would be interested in meeting with Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib after Israeli officials blocked them from entering the country ahead of a planned visit.

"I'd like to sit down and talk to them," said Lauder, a Republican donor who has donated to President Trump's shared committees with the Republican party.

ASAP will operate with both a nonprofit and a super PAC and use teams of researchers to monitor anti-Semitic comments.

"If it's a city councilman, or it's a U.S. senator, or presidential candidate, we'll know about it," Lauder told The Times.

Lauder will have the final say on which candidates are targeted because "it's my money and what I stand for," he said.

Universities may face Lauder's wrath, too. Universities and professors that take "an anti-Semitic point of view" could see ASAP sounding the alarm to their donors, he told The Times.

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Democratic campaign consultant Doug Schoen and Republican strategist Nelson Warfield are also helping with ASAP, as is the consulting firm of Bradley Tusk, former campaign manager for ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Lauder has a net worth of $4.2 billion, according to Forbes. He's also president of the World Jewish Congress.

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