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GOP senators, candidates will attend fundraiser hosted by donors who defended rape

The Miami event is to be hosted by controversial tech executives Keith Rabois and David Sacks, longtime associates of conservative billionaire Peter Thiel.

By Josh Israel - September 09, 2022
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Keith Rabois speaks during DEMO Fall 2014 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California, on Thursday, November 20, 2014.
Khosla Ventures Partner Keith Rabois speaks during DEMO Fall 2014 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California, on Thursday, November 20, 2014. Photo by Stephen Brashear (http://www.stephenbrashear.com)

A pair of wealthy tech industry donors with a history of writing rape apologia are set to host a major fundraiser for Senate Republicans and Senate candidates next week. At least nine current nominees, in addition to Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), are expected to attend the Florida event.

According to the event invitation, first reported by Puck News reporter Teddy Schleifer in late August, the “Take Back the Senate” reception will be held at the Miami home of former PayPal executive vice president Keith Rabois and his husband Jacob Helberg on Sept. 15. Former PayPal chief operating officer David Sacks is also listed as a host of the event, which will cost attendees between $1,000 and $50,000 per-person to attend.

In addition to Scott (R-FL), Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are expected to attend as “special guests” for the fundraiser, along with GOP Senate nominees Blake Masters, Joe O’Dea, Adam Laxalt, Ted Budd, J.D. Vance, Mehmet Oz, and Tiffany Smiley. The invitation pledges that there are “more senators and candidates to be announced.”

Rabois and Sacks both have longstanding connections to white nationalist-linked PayPal’s founder Peter Thiel, dating back to their time attending Stanford University together in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Thiel has already largely bankrolled the campaigns of Vance and Masters, both who formerly worked for the billionaire.

As a Stanford Law School student, Rabois, reportedly got into trouble in 1992 for berating a member of the faculty and calling them “faggot” and yelling, “Hope you die of AIDS.” He later claimed he intended “to make a provocative statement.”

After Stuart Thomas, a senior year student at Stanford, was charged with statutory rape of another student that same year, Rabois co-authored a column in a special “Rape Issue” of Stanford Review, Thiel’s conservative school publication. According to the book “The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power,” the column “joked” that the dorm building where the attack took place may become “the solution to asexually frustrated freshmen.”

Sacks also contributed to the “Rape Issue,” writing an article defending the perpetrator and dismissing statutory rape as “a moral directive left on the books by pre-sexual revolution crustaceans.”

Sacks and Thiel co-authored a 1995 book together called “The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Tolerance on Campus,” throughout which they defend Rabois’ anti-LGBTQ outburst. They also dismissed date rapes in the book as “seductions that were later regretted.” Both have since tried to distance themselves from their writing.

Sacks told Recode in 2016 that the book was “college journalism written over 20 years ago,” although it was published after their college careers, and that “it does not represent who I am or what I believe today. I’m embarrassed by some of my former views and regret writing them.”

In 2013, Rabois resigned from his chief operating officer position at Square Inc., after accusations of sexual harassment. Though he denied the allegations, he admitted in an open letter that he had a “physical relationship” with an employee even after he recruited him to join the company staff, which he described as “poor judgment on my part.”

Though the event will be at the home of a married same-sex married couple — with donors who have made anti-LGBTQ statements — several of the Republican candidates that will be in attendance have long records of opposing LGBTQ rights and marriage equality.

Even after attending Thiel’s 2017 marriage to husband Matt Danzeisen, Masters reportedly said in February that “Marriage is between a man and a woman. … Marriage is an institution that goes back thousands of years, and it has a point. The point is procreation and creating children.”

When the American Independent Foundation asked for comment via email for this story, Rabois wrote back: “No, not for this level of biased stupidity.”

Sacks, Senate Republicans, and Republican candidates scheduled to attend the fundraiser did not immediately respond to inquiries.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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