Former Ron DeSantis Wall Street fundraiser to bolster Trump’s campaign war chest

Former Ron DeSantis Wall Street fundraiser to bolster Trump’s campaign war chest

Veteran Wall Street executive Omeed Malik plans to raise over $3 million and donate at least $100,000 in support of Donald Trump’s campaign, making him the latest backer of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ failed bid to help the former president.

Malik, who is the CEO of Farvahar Partners, said in an interview that after having helped to raise money and give voice to the likes of DeSantis and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., he now plans to turn to his extensive network to help finance Trump’s campaign for president.

“What I am committing to doing is putting the resources that I have and Rolodex I have, both of which are material, behind the president on a go-forward basis,” Malik said.

Malik’s bona fides are rare in Trump’s orbit. Until recently, he was living in New York City and identifying as a Democrat. He was a regular donor to both Democrats and Republicans, sitting on the Council of Foreign Relations and building a traditional Wall Street résumé with stints at Bank of America and the corporate law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

But Malik was disturbed by what he saw as government overreach during the Covid pandemic, which pushed him to move to Florida and begin gravitating toward the right side of the aisle. And, like many Trump voters, he said it was what he deemed the “weaponization of regulatory and legal systems” that drew him to the former president.

“It’s starting to become prime time here between [President Joe] Biden and Trump, and this is when I can be much more effective,” Malik said.

The pandemic also inspired him to pursue alternative ventures. Malik’s firm, 1789 Capital, is a financial backer behind Tucker Carlson’s media company. The firm aims to help create a sort of parallel economy that appeals to more conservative consumers. He’s also behind PublicSquare, a conservative shopping app meant to rival Amazon.

Now his focus is turning to making a marked impact on the 2024 election.

Malik plans to raise at least $3 million for Trump’s campaign for president, an adviser told CNBC. That’s the same amount he raised for DeSantis’ 2022 campaign for governor. The adviser was granted anonymity to describe private efforts to help Trump.

Malik also donated over $100,000 to DeSantis’ allied political action committee during his successful 2022 re-election bid, according to state campaign finance records. When DeSantis ran for president, Malik co-hosted an event for him in the lucrative Hamptons region of New York.

The adviser said Malik aims to give at least $100,000 to a Trump fundraising committee but has yet to decide which one. He also plans to meet privately with Trump in Florida to discuss their fundraising strategy, the adviser said. Malik is already a member of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach.

Malik’s officially moving over to help Trump makes him the latest former DeSantis fundraiser to bet on Trump to win the Republican primary campaign over Nikki Haley and possibly defeat Biden in the general election. Dan Eberhart, another DeSantis bundler, announced during the New Hampshire primary that he was moving back to help Trump.

Malik’s decision to become so visible and outspoken in his support of Trump is a rarity among his peers in the Wall Street establishment. The group has been known to keep a safe distance from Trump. Many had chosen to support Haley or DeSantis or stay on the sidelines until a strong Trump alternative appeared — a donor dream that never became reality.

And Malik had some choice words for his contemporaries. He described a trend in the donor community that he views as “virtue signaling” — saying the common refrain is that they agree with Trump’s policies; they just don’t like his character. But then he points to the Bill Clinton era, when, he says, the mindset in the same donor crowd was to put policy first and see personal failings as secondary or simply irrelevant.

“But all of those people that supported Clinton now claim that they don’t like Trump for character reasons. It just doesn’t make any sense,” Malik said. “The reason they’re holding their nose seems to me to be disingenuous and sanctimonious.”

He also noted in the interview that he has observed growing donor frustrations with Biden. And he sees controversies like the one over how college campuses should address antisemitism pushing big money toward Trump again.

The effort by Malik and some others from Wall Street, including John Paulson, to start helping Trump may not have come at a better time for Trump, as his political operation continues to burn through cash.

Trump’s affiliated committees combined to spend about $27 million on legal fees in the final six months of 2023 while he faces a variety of criminal cases, according to an NBC News analysis of campaign finance filings. One of those entities spending on legal fees in Save America came into this year with around $5 million on hand.

Malik has had ties to Trump and his larger orbit for years, including having been a Trump donor. He contributed $25,000 to Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee that benefited Trump’s 2020 campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Donald Trump Jr. and his fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle, are reportedly investors into PublicSquare, the conservative shopping app that went public on the New York Stock Exchange thanks to a merger with Malik’s Colombier Acquisition Corp.

“Omeed is a close friend, business partner and one of the most important donors and bundlers in Republican politics. I’m excited that he’s all in on my father’s reelection campaign and look forward to working with him to Make America Great Again this November!” Trump Jr. said in a statement to NBC News.

Malik also has ties to one of Trump’s wealthier supporters during his 2016 campaign, Rebekah Mercer. She is among a group of reported investors in 1789 Capital.

Mercer is the daughter of Robert Mercer, the former co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, who gave $15 million to a super PAC that backed Trump’s first successful run for president.

Robert Mercer also invested in the controversial, now-defunct data company Cambridge Analytica, where his daughter was on the board.

After having distanced themselves for years from Trump, the Mercers have been weighing whether to financially back his latest run for president. They reportedly have made the move to support him again.

Others in Malik’s orbit include Nick Ayers, a former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, who recently endorsed Trump, and Blake Masters, a candidate for Congress in Arizona and an ally of GOP financier Peter Thiel.

Dasha Burns

Dasha Burns is a correspondent for NBC News.

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