Greenwich Billionaire Thomas Peterffy Seeks To Oust Democratic State Senator; Hungarian Immigrant Spending $38,000 On TV Commercials

by Categorized: Democrats, Republicans Date:

Greenwich billionaire Thomas Peterffy hates socialism because he grew up behind the Iron Curtain in communist Hungary before coming to America and making his fortune in discount brokerage.

\"\"He’s now putting his money behind his beliefs, and he is spending as much as $10 million during the final weeks of the election to rail against socialism. While he is funding national commercials on CNBC and CNN that show him speaking into the camera about his personal story, he is also getting involved in a local state Senate race that covers Manchester, Glastonbury, Bolton and Andover.

Papers released Thursday show that Peterffy is the only funder of a new Super PAC that will be spending nearly $38,000 for commercials on cable television stations against incumbent Democrat Steve Cassano. Cassano and his supporters held a news conference Thursday outside the state Capitol to decry Peterffy’s efforts.

Saying he knew little about the 68-year-old Greenwich billionaire, Cassano criticized Peterffy for getting involved in the race.

“Being sued by one of the richest people in the state of Connecticut is the way I look at it,’’ Cassano said. “I know I’m not being sued, but I’m being attacked by somebody who lives in Greenwich who I never met in my life. What impact he has on Manchester and Glastonbury, I have no idea. But I do know this. It’s a democracy. My grandfather and my father were fishermen. They were so proud of being Americans and being proud of the system. They never lived long enough to see me get elected. … That’s what it’s all about.’’

Cassano, 70, added, “To be able to have extra pennies in your allowance to spend to defeat candidates is outrageous. This is a man who made over $2 billion in the last few years under this Obama administration that they all want to attack, and I guess $38,000 of that is going to be used to attack Steve Cassano. That’s not what government is supposed to be.’\’

Cassano’s seat was held by a Republican in the mid-1990s, and he won his last race in November 2010 by only 66 votes against Glastonbury town council member Stewart “Chip’’ Beckett in a battle that led to a recount. He is now facing Manchester Republican board of directors member Cheri Pelletier in a race where Cassano says he feels “very comfortable’’ about the outcome.

Peterffy’s money has been contributed to a previously unknown group called Voters For Good Government, Inc., which is incorporated in Delaware and maintains a post office box in Fairfield. The managing director is Liz Kurantowicz, the former chief of staff and finance director for the Connecticut Republican Party and a former state employee in Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office.

Kurantowicz declined to reveal any details about the number of commercials that will be broadcast against Cassano, their precise content or how much money will be spent by Election Day. She states at the end of the 30-second commercial that she approved the message.

“We’re going to be highlighting decisions that Senator Cassano made that were not necessarily in the interests of his district,’’ Kurantowicz said in a telephone interview.

She said her organization is still in the process of raising money, and she declined to say how much that Peterffy will spend.

“Mr. Peterffy is the major donor that we have currently,’’ Kurantowicz said. “Senator Cassano will not be the only race that we are interested in. As we make additional expenditures, those will be made public. … There certainly will be additional expenditures made in multiple districts. I can say that with 100 percent certainty.’’

Peterffy is little known to the general public, but he has contributed to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and the Republican National Committee. Various published estimates have pegged his net worth at $4 billion to $7.6 billion.

“I grew up in a socialist country, and I have seen what that does to people,’’ Peterffy says in a video that is currently available on the Internet. “There is no hope, no freedom, no pride in achievement. The nation became poorer and poorer. And that’s what I see happening here.”

Although he could not speak English when he arrived in the United States in 1965, Peterffy eventually created Interactive Brokers, a giant discount brokerage firm based in Greenwich that has employees in at least 11 countries.

Kurantowicz declined to comment on the reaction of Cassano, saying she was not at the press conference in Hartford and did not hear remarks by Democrats criticizing the controversial decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 that allowed the creation of Super PACs in political campaigns.

“I don’t think I need to be in a position where I’m defending Citizens United,’’ she said. “We are doing what the law says we’re allowed to do. This is a bipartisan thing. This is not a party-specific system. Both Democrats and Republicans have utilized’’ Super PACs.

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23 thoughts on “Greenwich Billionaire Thomas Peterffy Seeks To Oust Democratic State Senator; Hungarian Immigrant Spending $38,000 On TV Commercials

  1. The Connservative

    I thought dinosaurs were extinct 20 million years ago. Cassano is living proof that theory is wrong.”That’s not what government is supposed to be.” A little upset that someone has more money than you.I can vision what your idea of goernment is: Just google Karl Marx . He has to front his little your not playing fair outcry at the capitol. This Marxist has rubber stamped almost every Malloy proposal/initiative it’s pathetic.Let’s see : repeal the death penalty,stupid busway,bathroom bill,last years budget with 100% increase in trade licenses,Jackson labs – 300 jobs for $300 million,early release program with 2 convenience store clerks kiled,etc. I hope he also uses his allowance money to thwart another term for Geoff Luxenburg in House district 12 which also covers Manchester. He is another Malloy rubber stamper.

  2. Greg Williams

    Doesnt everyone wish they had a spare $10 million like Mr. Peterffy to shell out on TV ads and other propaganda to influence a presidential election and other state races? I’d like to promote my political agenda, too. Any billionaires out there like Peterffy want to contribute to my candidates and causes? Money is speech you know.

  3. American

    You might be a good man. A smart man. A rich man indeed. But you drank from the cool aid of sick rich americans. They have tainted your views. America is great. But America also has great ways to make you hate. Rise above the smog of hate. Be yourself. A good man. A smart man. You don’t need America. America needs you to be good. USA stands for US ALL. There is no me. No them. US ALL. USA! USA! Undivided for ALL! For all!

  4. Michael Vachon

    Mr. Peterrfy is either trying to mislead or doesn’t know what he is talking about. Hungary was a communist country from 1956 until 1989. So unless Mr. Peterrfy is less than 23 years old (which he doesn’t appear to be) he grew up in a communist country – not a socialist one.

    1. Johngaltwhereru

      Socialism cannot exist without becoming Communism. Human nature does not allow Socialism to occur without harsh enforcement.

      If you disagree, feel free to provide examples of Socialist countries that avoided Communism.

      1. Michael Vachon

        That is wrong. Communism has always been the result of a revolution by an oppressed underclass – never the result of a gradual evolution from Socialism. You ask for examples of socialist countries that haven’t become communist? How about Sweden and France? How about Norway, Denmark, and Iceland? How about every other Socialist country ever? What Socialist country has ever become a communist one?

        1. johngaltwhereru

          Sweden, France, Norway, Denmark and Iceland are Capitalist Countries.

          Where is this nonsense coming from? Are you the same person as BearMarketNews, or is MSNBC reporting that Capitalist European Social Welfare States are actually Socialist Countries?

    2. Peacefulguy

      You’re absolutely correct and he knows that touting he’s from a Communist country would not go over well in his commercial. Also, many Hungarians were Nazis during WWII. Look carefully during the commercial at his boyhood photo – it shows him wearing lederhosen. Most Hungarian children in those days did not wear lederhosen unless their parents were Nazis.

      1. Jellie123

        More ignorance of Entitlement…all he is worried about is his tax cuts and getting rid of regulation on Wall Street. Most Hedge Fund guys aren’t making the money that they did during the Bush days up to the meltdown….now that there is Regulation they are coming out of the cracks..his remarks about Socialism are a nice screen for his greed.

    1. johngaltwhereru

      I’m sorry, but every single one of the Countries you listed are Capitalist, not Socialist.

      Not one of the countries you listed bans private ownership of the means of production. This is in direct opposition to every legitimate definition of Socialism.

      Not one of the countries you listed has uniform pay schedules regardless of value to society. Pay is merit based in each of these Countries. This is in direct opposition to every legitimate definition of Socialism.

      Private land ownership is allowed in each countries you listed. Socialism does not allow private land ownership.

      Maybe your misunderstanding of Socialism explains why a growing number of people think Socialism is acceptable. If you went around saying Nazism was nothing more than German National Pride, people might not think Hitler was so bad either.

      Out of curiosity, what made you incorrectly think your list of Socialist Countries were Socialist?

      1. Michael Vachon

        The ban on private ownership is not a characteristic of socialist countries, it is one of the defining characterstics of communism. Socialist countries allow private ownership of property, and have generally-free markets, but generally have a strong and comprehensive social safety-net, and typically impose much higher taxes on the rich. The idea of socialism is not to eliminate private property, but to reduce social inequality.

        Finally, I don’t want to get into a debate over the definition of socialism with you, so I will just say this. We are only talking about “socialism” because people have asserted that President Obama’s desire for higher taxes on the rich and universal health care are “socialist” policies. President Obama has never advocated for the elimination of private property, so in the context of today’s political discussion socialism means a strong safety net and reducing wealth inequality in the U.S. By that measure, all of the countries that BearMarketNews mentioned are all socialist.

        1. Johngaltwhereru

          Capitalism and Socialism are diametrically opposed economic systems.

          You cannot take a Capitalist Country that has progressive income taxation and a large entitlement system and declare that Country to be Socialist.

          You are simply refining Socialism to your liking.

        2. Kim

          MV: People accuse Obama of socialist-tendencies for many reasons, one of which is his handling of GM. And during his campaign debates with Romney he said he wanted to do this same thing throughout the country.

          Yet you want us to believe that “President Obama has never advocated for the elimination of private property”.

          I find it compelling that you engaged in a debate with John Gault about the meaning of socialism then quickly backed off and said “I don’t want to get into a debate over the definition of socialism with you”. At least you recognize when you have been defeated in an argument – it would show some level of objectivity and honesty if you would flat out say so instead of pretending you are right but don’t want to debate about it any further.

  5. Patricia Cook

    Just like Mitt Romney; Trying to mislead the public and a dishonest man! Hungary was communist when you were growing up (are is it you don’t know difference between a communist and a socialist?) You are just like the billionaire republicans that only care about themselves and nothing about the country that made them rich. Everything being put out by Romney/ Ryan is a lie. Check the fact checkers! Jeep ad-lie; Libya ad-lie;716 billion dollars cut from Medicare benefits- lie; truth is tax cuts Romney proposed can only work if he cuts mortgage interest; medical deductions; medical deductions; child care deductions and other tax loops from those making $100,000.00 or more. This come from 6 groups that Paul Ryan said verified that Romney tax plan would work. I could go on and on but trust me nothing Romney proposed is good for th economy or the people of the US.

    1. johngaltwhereru

      The challenge I extended to Bear Market News extends to you: Name a Socialist Country that did not descend to Communism.

      As far as Italian Car Company Fiat, who now owns Chrysler after Obama’s heroic payoff to the UAW, Jeeps are being built in China.

      I would start with the assumption that if Obama or any of his surrogates are speaking, they are lying.

      Next, how do you or the fact checkers know what is a lie in regards to Libya? The administration is refusing to hold a press conference or answer any questions until after the election. The ONLY clear lies told about Libya were when Obama said they were releasing all information to the public as it became available, and that the Al-Queda military attack was due to a video. Those are undeniable lies and they are coming directly from the Obama Administration.

      As far as the cuts to Medicare, here is Obama’s own mouth speaking about those cuts:

      Now, when Obama talks about the MEDICARE CUTS being required to pay for Obamacare, is he lying then, or is he lying now? Seeing that the 2 statements are polar opposites of each other and are on the same topic, it seems only one can be true.

  6. Jane Steinhauer

    How pathetic..what in the hell is he talking about…Socialism…what a joke…don’t worry Mr. petterffy, you will continue to get your 15% tax break in our wonderful country where you were able to make a fortune…by the way everyone, you call paying into the system for 40+ years for social security Socialism? You call paying for Medicare out of our Social Security checks, Socialism? Hey folks, we pay for our safety net..what a pompous ass this guy is..who does he think he is? Mr. Petterffy, get out of our face….

  7. Helen Laman

    Mr. Petterflly made his money under the Obama administration. Everything he alleges about this country is untrue. He insults everyone of us. Take your money Mr. Petterflly and leave if you don’t like this country.
    You don’t shit where you eat.

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