Jeff Yass, the Pennsylvania billionaire who is behind many extremist causes these days, is pushing to protect TikTok — because he stands to lose a lot of money if he doesn’t. This “patriot” doesn’t care about the risk to our national security because capitalism! From the Wall St. Journal, via Philadelphia Magazine:
Yass’s investment company, Susquehanna International Group, bet big on TikTok in 2012, buying a stake in parent company ByteDance now measured at about 15%. That translates into a personal stake for Yass of 7% in ByteDance. It is worth roughly $21 billion based on the company’s recent valuation, or much of his $28 billion net worth as gauged by Bloomberg.
Yass is also one of the top donors to the Club for Growth, an influential conservative group that rallied Republican opposition to a TikTok ban. Yass has donated $61 million to the Club for Growth’s political-spending arm since 2010, or about 24% of its total, according to federal records.
Club for Growth made public its opposition to banning TikTok in March, in an opinion article by its president, at a time when sentiment against the platform among segments of both parties was running high on Capitol Hill. Days later, Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) stood up on the Senate floor and quashed an attempt to fast-track a bill by Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) to ban downloading of the TikTok app.
“We will be acting like the Chinese government if we ban TikTok here,” Paul said around that time.
If you want to save yourself some time and effort, just look at the names involved. Is there a national security risk? Seems likely. But the risk to Jeff Yass’s fortune and the weight he pulls in Republican circles is much more important!
He’s also the money behind the push for school vouchers in Pennsylvania.