Robert Mercer has been one of the top Republican contributors during the 2014 election, but rarely speaks publicly and is largely an unknown figure.

Mercer is the co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund management company, and his family has a $37.6 million foundation.

Bloomberg Politics explored Mercer’s giving, and his foundation’s giving, to political and other causes since 2008.

From the story:

Mercer has cut checks for a total of $37 million in the past six years, supporting pro-life candidates, those who deny man-made global warming, as well as helping fund the effort to block construction of a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks in New York.

Mercer and his foundation gave more than $20 million to conservative nonprofits, such as the Media Research Center, which “tracks claimed liberal bias in the mainstream media,” according to the story.

He also gave nearly $15 million to super PACs (political action committees) such as $2 million to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and $2.5 million to Charles and David Koch’s Freedom Partners Action Fund.

His money also helped fund the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., to the tune of $1 million.

The article also explored his company’s recent appearance before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in July. The committee was examining how Renaissance Technologies helped its clients avoid paying certain taxes.

From the story:

The company was profiled in one chapter of Sebastian Mallaby’s book “More Money Than God,”  which details the world’s most successful hedge funds. In it, Mallaby shared only a few observations about Mercer. “He was an icy cold poker player; he never recalled having a nightmare; his IBM boss jokingly called him an automaton.” Mallaby wrote.

Reach Eric Holmberg at 412-315-0266 or at eholmberg@publicsource.org.

This fact-based local reporting drives impact and creates change. Help power that impact.

James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” PublicSource exists to help the Pittsburgh region face its realities and create opportunities for change. When we shine a light on inequity in our region, like the “completely unacceptable” conditions in low-income housing in McKeesport, things change. When we ask questions about policymakers’ decisions, like how Allegheny County is handling COVID-19 safety for its employees, things change. When we push for transparency on issues that affect the public, like in the use of facial recognition software by Pittsburgh police, things change.

It takes a lot of time, skill and resources to produce journalism like this. Our stories are always made available for free so that they can benefit the most people, regardless of ability to pay. But as an independent, nonprofit newsroom, we count on donations from our readers to support this crucial work. Can you make a contribution of any amount (or better yet, set up a recurring monthly gift) to help ensure we can continue to report on what matters and tell stories for a better Pittsburgh?

Eric Holmberg was a reporter for PublicSource between 2014 and 2016.