HEDGE PAPERS NO. 64: SEVEN WALL STREET BILLIONAIRES TRY TO BUY NEW YORK ELECTIONS

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Hedge fund billionaires are once again attacking elections in New York, pouring millions into candidates, PACs and Super PACs aimed at keeping Congress and Albany – and particularly the State Senate – in Wall Street’s hands.

Just seven billionaires gave over $30 million in New York state and federal campaign contributions this cycle.

These are the billionaires who got the biggest benefits from the GOP Tax Scam passed by Congress last year.

And they’re the billionaires who benefit when the one-seat Republican majority in the New York State blocks efforts to close their carried interest loophole and make them pay their fair share.

In the age of populist rage against the elites, these billionaires are the elite of the elite: just the seven of them have more wealth than 3.9 million regular New Yorkers.

There’s a good reason for anger — Republicans in Washington are now calling for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to pay for the massive tax cut these billionaires are enjoying.

And State Senate Republicans in Albany have blocked efforts to fully fund our public schools, invest in transportation infrastructure or give real property tax relief to working families — all to keep taxes on these billionaires low.

These billionaires think they can use huge campaign contributions to overwhelm public anger.

Their tidal wave of campaign cash is designed to drown out the voices of working people who want government to work for all of us, not just the wealthy. That’s why we’re exposing their outrageous effort — and the Republican candidates they’re trying to push on the public.

Swamp monsters in full effect: Paul Singer, Dan Loeb, Stephen Schwarzman, Steven Cohen, Alice & Jim Walton and Robert Mercer

  • $30,162,253 total spending by seven Wall Street billionaires
  • They’ve got $118 billion in personal wealth — that’s more wealth than 3.9 million New Yorkers, according to Federal Reserve data

Wall Street billionaires driving campaign cash to push Republican control of Congress

  • Total dollars: $21,629,965
  • Congressional Leadership Fund — $3.25 million

(Schwarzman gave $2.25 million & Cohen gave $1 million)

Wall Street billionaires slamming campaign cash to push Republican control of State Senate

  • New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany: $5,735,000 from four billionaires to support narrow GOP majority
  • Total Senate-related spending $7,165,300.00

CORRUPT PAYOFF TO REPUBLICANS IN WASHINGTON AND ALBANY

Republicans in Washington and Albany are dividing the country and handing over government to their wealthy donors and Wall Street at the expense of working people and the middle class.

Their tax scam for the rich recklessly drives up deficits to justify cuts to Social Security and Medicare and even less investment in education, infrastructure and health care.

And in Albany, Republicans block efforts to fully fund our public schools and provide property tax relief to the hardest-hit families to protect the billionaire class in Manhattan from paying their fair share in taxes.

In exchange for their tax scam payoffs, these billionaires provide the funding for divisive attack ads that trash people of color and immigrants to deflect attention from what’s really going on: the ultra-rich are getting richer at the expense of everyone else.

We need fair economic and tax policies that benefit all working people — white, Black and Latino — instead of special deals for the billionaires on Park Avenue and the Hamptons.

Wall Street billionaires got the biggest benefit from the GOP Tax Scam for the rich

  • Lower taxes on their income[1]
  • Lower taxes for their heirs and heiresses[2]
  • Kept special tax breaks for carried interest[3]

Wall Street billionaires kept their special tax loopholes and got new breaks on private jets and yachts from the GOP in Albany

  • Kept their special tax break on carried interest by blocking state legislation to close it[4]
  • New tax breaks give them lower taxes on yachts and private jets[5]

Wall Street billionaires got new bank deregulation law that lets them screw regular New Yorkers[6]

  • New law lets banks rip you off when you’re buying a house or a mobile home in rural communities
  • Lets banks rip you off on your mortgage, especially in small cities and low-income neighborhoods
  • Green-lights racial redlining and discrimination that targets communities of color for predatory loans[7]
  • Stops state government from explaining and protecting you against investment scams
  • Lets banks of all shapes and sizes gamble with our entire economy and leave us holding the bag all over again
  • Fails to crack down on crazy fraud schemes like the Wells Fargo fake accounts or the Equifax data breach
  • Everything for the bankers and nothing for regular Americans

Steven Cohen

$5,550,750 in campaign cash

Controversial billionaire whose hedge fund pled guilty to insider trading

Net Worth: $12.9 billion [https://www.forbes.com/profile/steve-cohen/#572d4bd463f8]

*****

New York State contributions in 2017-2018: $2,040,000

  • $1.85 million to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany
  • $150,000 to Parents Vote
  • $40,000 to Andrew Cuomo

Federal contributions, 2017-2018: $3,505,800

  • $1 million to Congressional Leadership Fund, which has been spending heavily on NYS races
  • $89,600 to the National Republican Congressional Committee 

*****

  • CEO and founder of Point72 Asset Management, formerly SAC Capital Advisors, which was indicted on criminal charges of insider trading (4 counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud).[8]
  • His schemes to game drug trials resulted in extensive insider trading investigations and almost landed him in prison.[9]
  • He tore down his $62 million Hamptons mansion to build a new one.[10]
  • He owns a 35,000 square foot mansion in Greenwich worth $23 million[11] filled with paintings by Picasso and Jasper Johns.
  • Total worth of Cohen’s art collection is over one billion dollars.[12]
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission also sued Cohen for failing to properly supervise portfolio managers.[13]
  • Notable oil and gas investments include a 5% stake in WPX, a Tulsa, OK based fracker also known for funding a documentary to “debunk” claims made by anti-fracking advocates[14]
  • Like most hedge fund managers, Cohen has a history of incorporating his funds in places like the Cayman Islands and Anguilla in order to take advantage of tax breaks[15]
  • Made money privatizing Veteran Affairs and closing clinics[16]

Paul Singer

$5,380,042 in campaign cash

  • Billionaire hedge fund manager killed thousands of American jobs
  • Net worth: $3.2 billion [https://www.forbes.com/profile/paul-singer/#350580c795e5]

*****

New York State contributions in 2017-2018: $1,190,374

  • $1,000,000 to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany
  • $100,000 to New York Republican State Committee
  • $13,374 to Keith Wofford
  • $10,000 to Republican Assembly Campaign Committee
  • $7,000 to Tom Basile

Federal contributions, 2017-2018: $4,189,668

  • Has given the maximum $5,400 contribution to a slew of Republicans in New York State House races, including Elise Stefanik, John Faso, Claudia Tenney, John Katko, and Lee Zeldin.
  • $1 million to the American Unity PAC, which spent heavily in the past in support of Katko and Faso
  • $1 million last-minute donation to Future 45 PAC
  • $187,400 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

*****

  • Founder of hedge fund Elliott Management, is one of the 400 richest Americans, with a personal net worth of $3.2 billion.[17]
  • A “passionate defender of the 1%” who made $2 billion from Argentina’s economic collapse[18]
  • Manipulations of industrial firms like Delphi Automotive led to the loss of thousands of jobs[19] across the country, including in Upstate New York[20], as well as the loss of pensions and health benefits for thousands more workers and their families
  • Two Manhattan apartments, one on Park Avenue and one on Central Park West[21], a ski chalet in Aspen, Colorado and an office complex on “Billionaire’s Row” in Manhattan
  • Singer is neck-deep in dirty fossil fuels: according to Elliott Associates’ recent SEC filings, 14% of the fund’s holdings are invested in the energy sector, with a total of more than $1.1 billion.[22]
  • In 2013, he gave $200,000 to the Copenhagen Consensus Center[23] (CCC) – the think tank of Bjørn Lomborg, one of the world’s most prominent “climate change skeptics” and fossil fuel advocates[24].
  • He is the Chairman of the Board of the Koch-funded Manhattan Institute, which advocates for a harsh pro-austerity, pro-fossil fuel, and anti-union agenda.[25]

Daniel Loeb

$2,035,350 in campaign cash

  • Controversial hedge fund billionaire has been hit hard for racialized remarks
  • Net worth: $3.1 billion [https://www.forbes.com/profile/daniel-loeb/#3341378c7c2d]

New York State contributions in 2017-2018: $1,629,950

  • $1,000,000 to New Yorkers For A Balanced Albany
  • $214,000 to NYS Senate Republican Campaign Committee
  • $150,000 to New Yorkers For Putting Students First
  • $150,000 to Great Public Schools PAC
  • $100,000 to Republican State Leadership Committee. Loeb gave $50,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee in July 2017, and $50,000 in 2018.[26] RSLC is a 527 that has funneled over $400,000 to Balance New York, the NYS Senate Republican Committee, and the New York Republican State Committee.
  • $11,000 to Jeff Klein

Federal contributions, 2017-2018: $405,400

  • Has maxed out to many Republican House candidates in New York State, including Elise Stefanik, John Faso, Claudia Tenney, John Katko, Dan Donovan, and Lee Zeldin
  • $73,800 to the National Republican Congressional Committee
  • $10,000 to the New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee
  • $10,000 to Empire State PAC, which is affiliated with Faso, and $5,000 to E-PAC, which is affiliated with Stefanik.

****

  • Controversial comments on KKK and African-American legislative leader were front-page news last year[27]
  • Destroyed hundreds of manufacturing jobs in Upstate New York and thousands more nationwide in Delphi deals[28]
  • Vulture investor in Puerto Rico debt, resulting in tragic cuts to schools, hospitals and wages on the island[29]
  • Mansions in New York City and East Hampton[30]
  • $65 million private jet and $60 million yacht benefit from Albany’s tax holiday for billionaire toys[31]
  • Backs massive cuts to anti-poverty programs and social safety net as leader of Manhattan Institute[32]

The Mercers (Robert, Diana, and Rebekah)

$6,597,411

  • Controversial right-wing billionaire backed Breitbart News, Cambridge Analytica and Trump
  • Net worth unclear due to his ultra-secrecy [https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-25/is-trump-backer-robert-mercer-a-billionaire-i-tried-to-find-out]

New York State contributions, 2017-2018: $1,087,714

Including $18,000 to Tom Basile

(most of rest is Astorino)

Federal contributions, 2017-2018: $5,509,697

Including $711,900 to NRCC, $10,800 to John Faso, $5,400 each to Tenney and Katko

****

[IMAGE: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/27/the-reclusive-hedge-fund-tycoon-behind-the-trump-presidency]

  • Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah were key players in the Donald Trump presidential campaign.[33]
  • The Mercers installed top “alt-right” campaign staffers like Steven Bannon of Breitbart News, and moved several businesses they invest in or own into key positions in the campaign[34].
  • The Mercers donated millions of dollars to the Trump campaign and to the Super PAC supporting it.[35]
  • Mercer is an owner of the secretive data mining, data analysis and strategic communications firm Cambridge Analytica, which is targeting voters for the Trump campaign[36]. The Mercers have been reported as insisting on the use of their firm as part of their involvement in the Trump effort.[37]
  • Mercer has also invested in Breitbart News and alt-right media including movies and books.[38]
  • In addition to the money he has spent on political campaigns, estimated at $32 million as of 2016, Mercer has invested millions of dollars in the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Media Research Center, and the Government Accountability Institute.[39]
  • Mercer has provided financial and personal support to a number of fringe figures on the alt-right, including bigoted candidates linked to white supremacists, HIV denialists and climate science denialists.[40]

Stephen Schwarzman

$7,813,000.00 in campaign cash

Federal contributions, 2017-2018: $7,813,000

  • $2.25 million to Congressional Leadership Fund, which has been spending heavily on NYS races
  • has maxed out to Dan Donovan, Lee Zeldin, John Faso, and John Katko.
  • $13.7 billion fortune[41]
  • $811 million salary[42]
  • $100 million in personal real estate[43]
  • Park Avenue mansion[44]
  • Massive estates in Saint-Tropez, Palm Beach and the Hamptons[45]
  • Oceanfront estate in Jamaica[46]
  • Threw himself a twenty-five-million-dollar birthday party with live camels, acrobats, celebrities and fireworks[47]
  • Chair of Trump Economic Policy Forum[48]
  • Since 2007, Blackstone has spent at least $25,040,000 with three lobbying firms that specifically mentioned their work on carried interest in their Senate lobbying disclosure forms.[49]
  • When he threw an infamously luxurious party for his 60th birthday party, Donald and Melania Trump were among the guests. The $3 million dollar affair treated guests to performances by Rod Stewart and Patti LaBelle and a large portrait of Schwarzman, which usually hangs in his living room, was on display.[50]
  • Throughout his career as a corporate raider, Schwarzman has repeatedly destroyed jobs, cut pay, eliminated benefits and raided pension funds. “These investments are helping the fat cats by hurting the little guys,” said one laid-off worker interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. “It’ll make you sick.”[51]

Alice and Jim Walton

$2,785,700.00

  • Erratic billionaires fought against higher pay for Walmart workers
  • Net worth: $90 billion

$44.9 billion (Alice) https://www.forbes.com/profile/alice-walton/#30ed58164eb2

$45.2 billion (Jim) https://www.forbes.com/profile/jim-walton/#a5c5ef212d83

New York State contributions, 2017-2018: $2,579,300

  • $1,885,000 to New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany
  • $194,000 to New Yorkers for Putting Students First
  • $150,000 to Parents Vote
  • $101,300 to Democrats for Education Reform NYS
  • $75,000 to New York Campaign for Achievement Now
  • $75,000 to Coalition for Public Charter Schools PAC
  • $60,000 to Moving New York Families Forward
  • $39,000 to Andrew Cuomo

Federal contributions, 2017-2018: $206,400

Including $117,800 to NRCC (no NYS candidates) 

****

  • Alice is a billionaire union-buster with a chaotic personal life opposing the Fight for $15 and low-wage workers[52]
  • Heiress to the Walmart fortune, personally worth $44 billion
  • Wal-Mart’s imports from China alone have cost 400,000 Americans their jobs between 2001 and 2013.[53]
  • Walton has a record of car crashes and impaired driving that she herself has waved off with a reference to her extraordinary wealth[54]
  • Billionaire Corporate Heirs: The Walton family, heirs to the fortune of WalMart founder Sam Walton, is the richest family in the US, worth $130 billion,[55] according to Forbes.
  • DeVos Ties: Until her appointment as Secretary of Education, Devos chaired[56] the school privatizing pro-charter group American Federation for Children (AFC). In an interview, DeVos claimed[57] that the AFC is “the umbrella organization that is affiliated with the Alliance for School Choice.”Inside Philanthropy [58] reports that the Alliance for School Choice “has been heavily supported by Walton Foundation over the years, with grants totaling over $20 million.” Indeed, Walmart Family Foundation 990 filings[59] reveal millions of dollars in donations to the Alliance for School Choice. They also show that Betsy DeVos and Carrie Walton Penner both served as [60] Alliance for School Choice board members [61] together for multiple years. Senior education leadership supported were cheerleaders for DeVos after [62]Donald Trump nominated her to the Department of Education.
  • Conservative Donors and Trump Ties: The Waltons have donated, personally and through their PAC,[63] to conservative politicians like Trent Lott,[64] Mitt Romney,[65] andMitch McConnell,[66] and to Tea Partiers like Michelle Bachmann,[67]Ted Cruz,[68] and Timothy Huelskamp.[69] They also gave to Trump allies like Mike Pence [70] and Jeff Sessions[71] (who they donated to as recently as 2016) and they have donated big to PACs like 21st Century Majority Fund [72] that gave thousands to Donald Trump.[73]
  1. https://www.thestreet.com/story/14427301/1/glad-tidings-hedgies-carried-interest-mostly-survives-tax-reform.html 
  2. https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-tax-plan-rich-people-benefits-2017-11 
  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-22/cohn-mnuchin-split-helped-break-trump-s-carried-interest-pledge 
  4. https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2018/04/02/new-york-state-senate-chooses-protect-donors-hurt-constituents 
  5. https://nypost.com/2015/03/31/new-york-state-giving-huge-tax-break-to-luxury-yacht-buyers/ 
  6. https://ourfinancialsecurity.org/senate-financial-deregulation-package-crapo-bill/ 
  7. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-the-rollback-of-the-obama-era-financial-regulations-affects-you-2018-03-19https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/democrats-banks-racial-discrimination_us_5a96e489e4b0e6a523042fc8, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/03/democrats-back-a-bank-bill-that-could-hurt-black-homebuyers.html 
  8. http://www.businessinsider.com/sac-capital-indicted-2013-7 
  9. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/09/business/dealbook/sec-and-steven-cohen-reach-settlement-in-insider-trading-case.html and https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-01-08/steve-cohen-will-be-back-in-2018-that-s-good- 
  10. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/06/billionaire-hedge-fund-manager-steve-cohen-tore-down-62-million-mansion.html 
  11. http://fortune.com/steve-cohen-billionaire-point72-hedge-fund/ 
  12. http://fortune.com/2016/10/22/steve-cohen-art-billionaire-point72/ 
  13. http://www.businessinsider.com/sec-sues-steve-cohen-2013-7 
  14. https://www.tulsaworld.com/business/energy/wpx-energy-funds-documentary-about-fracking/article_9d891f7d-44f3-548d-9a47-422edc244403.html 
  15. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hedgefunds-sac-factbox-idUSTRE71M4J520110223?mod=related 
  16. https://www.propublica.org/article/steve-cohen-privatized-ptsd-veterans-clinic 
  17. http://www.forbes.com/profile/paul-singer/ 
  18. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2016/03/29/how-one-hedge-fund-made-2-billion-from-argentinas-economic-collapse/?utm_term=.1e01ee47413d 
  19. http://hedgeclippers.org/hedgepapers-no-36-hedge-funds-attack-ohio-how-wall-street-greed-has-destroyed-jobs-and-harmed-the-economy-in-the-buckeye-state/ 
  20. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/business/26auto.html?_r=0 
  21. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/right-wing-billionaires-behind-mitt-romney-190504/ 
  22. From Elliott Associate’s 12/31/2015 filings here: http://whalewisdom.com/filer/elliott-management-corp 
  23. http://www.alternet.org/environment/hedge-fund-billionaire-bankrolling-worlds-leading-climate-change-denier 
  24. http://www.desmogblog.com/bjorn-lomborg 
  25. https://www.manhattan-institute.org/board-of-trustees 
  26. 2017 RSLC filing: https://forms.irs.gov/app/pod/basicSearch/search?_eventId_displayForm=true&formId=101292&formtype=e8872&execution=e1s3 
    2018 RSLC filing: https://forms.irs.gov/app/pod/basicSearch/search?_eventId_displayForm=true&formId=106976&formtype=e8872&execution=e1s3 
  27. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/nyregion/democrats-new-york-blacks.html and http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-billionaire-klan-comments-20170811-story.html 
  28. http://hedgeclippers.org/hedge-funds-the-destruction-of-the-upstate-economy/; http://hedgeclippers.org/hedgepapers-no-36-hedge-funds-attack-ohio-how-wall-street-greed-has-destroyed-jobs-and-harmed-the-economy-in-the-buckeye-state/; http://hedgeclippers.org/daniel-loeb/ 
  29. http://hedgeclippers.org/hedgepapers-no-17-hedge-fund-billionaires-in-puerto-rico/ 
  30. http://hedgeclippers.org/daniel-loeb/ 
  31. http://hedgeclippers.org/albany-budget-tax-free-yachts/ 
  32. http://hedgeclippers.org/hedgepapers-no-14-the-gift-of-greed-how-hedgefund-philanthropists-increase-inequality/ 
  33. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/27/the-reclusive-hedge-fund-tycoon-behind-the-trump-presidency, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/us/politics/robert-mercer-donald-trump-donor.html?_r=0 
  34. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/27/the-reclusive-hedge-fund-tycoon-behind-the-trump-presidency 
  35. http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/08/30/mega-donors-leery-trump/89585690/ 
  36. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/us/politics/robert-mercer-donald-trump-donor.html?_r=0 
  37. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/291772-billionaire-father-and-daughter-linked-to-trump-shakeup 
  38. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/291772-billionaire-father-and-daughter-linked-to-trump-shakeup; and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/08/17/1561381/-Who-is-Robert-Mercer-The-man-behind-the-new-Trump-CEO-Steve-Bannon 
  39. http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/features/2016-01-20/what-kind-of-man-spends-millions-to-elect-ted-cruz- 
  40. http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/features/2016-01-20/what-kind-of-man-spends-millions-to-elect-ted-cruz- 
  41. http://www.forbes.com/profile/stephen-schwarzman/ 
  42. http://www.businessinsider.com/r-blackstone-ceo-took-home-8106-million-in-2015-2016-2 
  43. http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150308/FINANCE/150309874/how-stephen-schwarzman-spends-his-cash 
  44. http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150308/FINANCE/150309874/how-stephen-schwarzman-spends-his-cash 
  45. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304803104576428183030837332 
  46. http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150308/FINANCE/150309874/how-stephen-schwarzman-spends-his-cash 
  47. http://www.gossipextra.com/2017/02/11/stephen-schwarzman-birthday-party-donald-trump-palm-beach-6861/ 
  48. http://www.forbes.com/sites/antoinegara/2016/12/02/trump-taps-steve-schwarzman-jamie-dimon-and-mary-barra-for-advice-on-job-creation-growth/#684c8dc62174 
  49. Per a 1/10/2017 review of electronically filed lobbying disclosures on the United States Senate website. 
  50. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB118169817142333414 
  51. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB118549984636779837 
  52. http://gawker.com/alice-walton-the-villain-1647234759 
  53. http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/walmart-workers-lend-voices-fight-15 
  54. https://mic.com/articles/79039/the-untold-story-of-alice-walton-s-dwi-incident#.vKEPPNq2R 
  55. https://www.forbes.com/profile/walton-1/ 
  56. https://www.federationforchildren.org/bill-oberndorf-succeeds-betsy-devos-chairman-american-federation-children/ 
  57. http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/interview_with_betsy_devos 
  58. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2016/11/28/inside-betsy-devos-philanthropy 
  59. https://www.guidestar.org/profile/13-3441466 
  60. https://www2.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2008/522/111/2008-522111508-051d2a93-9.pdf 
  61. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2013/522/111/2013-522111508-0aee0951-9.pdf 
  62. https://twitter.com/WFFMarc/status/821452062689005568 
  63. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00093054/ 
  64. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?28020211248 
  65. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?12952885190 
  66. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?28020534380 
  67. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?26940917891 
  68. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?12940418655 
  69. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?10991455319 
  70. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?23991117488 
  71. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201606179018429042 
  72. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201704189052306549 
  73. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201704189052306549 
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