November 26, 2020

Warren Buffetts Berkshire Hathaway ranks among the biggest Republican donors in the MAGA index, even though the investor backed Obama and Clinton

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Warren Buffett
  • Warren Buffett threw fundraisers for Barack Obama, campaigned for Hillary Clinton, and blasted Donald Trump for his personal conduct, multiple bankruptcies, and refusal to publish his tax returns.
  • Yet the billionaire investor’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, is included in an exchange-traded fund that has “MAGA” as its ticker.
  • The Point Bridge GOP Stock Trader ETF invests in the 150 S&P 500 companies with the most workers and political action committees that have donated to Republicans in the last two election cycles.
  • Buffett’s company ranks among the 10 biggest Republican donors in the MAGA index, although its employees have given more to Joe Biden than President Trump this cycle.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett has proudly supported Democrats in recent years, yet his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate is included in an exchange-traded fund that has “MAGA” as its ticker.

The Point Bridge GOP Stock Tracker ETF invests in the 150 companies in the S&P 500 with the highest number of workers and political action committees (PACs) that have donated to Republicans in the last two election cycles. Its ticker is a nod to President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan and rallying cry of “Make America Great Again.”

The tension between Buffett’s politics and his company’s presence in the MAGA fund was highlighted by CNN this week.

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Point Bridge Capital, founded by longtime Republican donor Hal Lambert in 2013, markets the MAGA ETF as a means of “politically responsible investing” and a tool to “invest in companies that align with your Republican political beliefs.”

It isn’t too surprising that Berkshire makes the cut given the sheer size of its workforce: Buffett’s conglomerate employed about 392,000 people at the last count.

Berkshire also owns scores of businesses across industries such as energy, utilities, manufacturing, construction, transportation, and retail. That likely gives it a less politically homogenous workforce than technology companies such as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Netflix, and Google-parent Alphabet, none of which are in the MAGA index.

However, Berkshire’s workers are still more financially supportive of Joe Biden than Trump. They have contributed about $225,000 to the former vice president’s campaign, compared to $196,000 to the sitting president, OpenSecrets data shows. Still, the scale of their past contributions has made Berkshire one of the 10 biggest Republican donors in the MAGA index.

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Buffett’s political past makes it jarring to see his company in the MAGA ETF. After all, the billionaire investor threw fundraisers for Barack Obama in 2011. He also campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016, once taking the stage at a rally to criticize Trump’s conduct, multiple bankruptcies, and excuses for not publishing his tax returns.

Buffett hasn’t endorsed Biden for president this year, but the pair recently spoke about America’s “opportunity to lead the whole damn world.” Biden also praised Buffett in 2012 for highlighting inequality in the US tax system, and later supported the Berkshire CEO’s call to scrap quarterly earnings guidance in order to combat short-termism.

The divergence between Buffett’s personal politics and many of his workers’ views underscores not only the size and diversity of Berkshire’s operations, but arguably the investor’s focus on building a culture of trust and integrity rather than shared beliefs.