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Hedge fund chief's $1M donation

Downtown Islamic center site

Downtown Islamic center site Credit: Getty Images

Robert Mercer, chief executive of the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund in East Setauket, made a $1 million contribution to the New York State Conservative Party this summer, according to campaign filings made public Tuesday.

A report published on Politico says Mercer’s $1 million, donated July 26, was the sole source of financing for Conservative Party TV advertisements opposing the building of an Islamic center in downtown Manhattan.

Mercer's goal in the contribution was to support GOP then-gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio's anti-mosque campaign stance, Politico said.

The anti-mosque TV ads said, in part, "The Conservative Party agrees with Rick Lazio. It must be stopped. Stop the mosque …"

Politico reports that one of its reporters, Maggie Haberman, says "she's solved a lingering mystery from the now-nearly-forgotten summer storm around a planned Islamic center in Lower Manhattan."

Politico says Mike Long, chairman of the Conservative Party, confirmed "that Mercer was the source of the ad money."

The $1 million contribution was listed on a state Elections Board filing made public Tuesday.

Mercer did not immediately respond Tuesday to a voicemail request for comment. Show above is the building at the proposed center's site.

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