Who Is Jeff Yass, The Billionaire Who Gave Governor Greg Abbott $6 Million to Support School Voucher?

Who Is Jeff Yass, The Billionaire Who Gave Governor Greg Abbott $6 Million to Support School Voucher?
Cover Image Source: Jeff Yass | YouTube | Susquehanna International Group

The poker player turned TikTok billionaire, Jeff Yass, is backing Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott's initiative to drive out Republicans who tried to stop his school choice agenda. School vouchers are the tax dollars that can be used to pay for private school tuition. Gov. Greg Abbott pitched his plan for vouchers recently and later, an unnamed parent revealed that TEA was working in favor of vouchers. This was met with a mixed response. The argument against the voucher system is that it would siphon money away from traditional public schools. However, Abbott believes that it would provide families with more control over their children's education. The primary goal of the initiative is to make quality education accessible to everyone. 

Image Source: (L) Jeff Yass YouTube | Susquehanna International Group | | (R) Greg Abbott | Getty Images | Jonathan Bachman
Image Source: (L) Jeff Yass | YouTube | Susquehanna International Group | | (R) Greg Abbott | Getty Images | Jonathan Bachman

Jeff Yass has spent more than $209 million in the past decade to promote school choice and pro-voucher candidates. This includes over $6 million to Abbott in recent months and millions to groups airing attacks in the March 5 primary against the "rural 16." This was not the first donation that Yass has made to Abbott. He previously gave $250,000 to him in October 2023. 

Needless to say, many did not react positively to the huge donation made by Yass. "It’s very concerning that a guy who made his money in a way that … is very harmful to our young people is using some of that money to double down on his harm to our young people by defunding the public schools," said state Rep. Gary VanDeaver.

Abbott has extensively endorsed primary challengers to seven of the anti-voucher House Republicans who wanted a reelection. Apart from this, Yass also gave a $500,000 check last month to AFC Victory Fund, a pro-voucher super PAC.

Yass has made most of his money through the successful bet on the Chinese company Bytedance, the company behind TikTok. Yass' stake exploded from $2 million in 2012 to an estimated $21 billion, after which he secured the 25th position on America's billionaire list by Bloomberg. It's interesting to see how Yass is supporting an initiative led by Abbott, as Abbott banned the social media platform TikTok in Mexico back in 2022. 



 

"Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity," Abbott said at the time of the ban.



 

Jeffrey S. Yass is an American billionaire with a net worth of $28.9 billion as of March 1, 2024, per Forbes. He is the co-founder as well as the managing director of the Philadelphia-based Susquehanna International Group. He made a huge chunk of money by investing early in Bytedance, the parent company of TikTok. He is currently the richest man in Pennsylvania and is also the largest donor in the 2024 US election cycle with a donation of  $34 million to Republican groups. 

Yass was born in a middle-class Jewish family in Queens, New York. He later attended Binghamton University where he earned a BS in mathematics and economics. He later co-founded Susquehanna International Group, the largest trader of liquid stock in the country.

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