Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson has spoken out endorsing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, despite sitting on the Hillary Clinton campaign’s “Florida Leadership Council.”
Grayson, who is now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, announced that he was backing Sanders in a fundraising email. Democratic representative Grayson has come under fire in political circles for his double life as both a politician and a hedge fund manager, writes Adam C. Smith for the Tampa Bay Times.
Controversial politician combined Congress with hedge fund management
The populist hedge fund manager likes to cast himself as an anti-establishment candidate, which works out well seeing as the Democratic establishment sees him as a disaster. Sanders is the logical choice for Grayson, who said he was inspired by the former’s campaign message of “Not me. Us.”
“I will vote for him as a Super-delegate at the Democratic National Convention. And I enthusiastically join, shoulder to shoulder, his political revolution,” read the letter.
Grayson was previously subject to investigation by the House Committee on Ethics due to his shady dual role as a sitting House lawmaker and hedge fund manager. The story became even more complicated when it was revealed that the hedge fund had operations in the Cayman Islands.
Hedge fund controversy dogs Congressman Alan Grayson
While Grayson’s hedge fund managed only $16.4 million in assets as of October and only four investors, its manager encouraged potential clients to profit from the unrest that he observed during his official trips abroad. He even told them that money could be made especially when there was “blood on the streets.”
Not only did Grayson encourage questionable ethics, it appears that his activities as hedge fund manager interfered with his work in Congress. In August 2015 Grayson introduced a bill which would have implemented larger annual increases in Social Security benefits. Despite plans to advocate for the plan in Tampa, Florida, he had to call off the event when Chinese markets crashed and he had to pay more attention to the hedge fund.
Grayson denies that he used his position in Congress to attract business to the fund. “Here is something that is not true: that I somehow traded on my membership as a U.S. congressman to get clients for this fund,” he said in an interview.