Jeff Yass is the richest man in Pennsylvania.

Jeff Yass is a billionaire. The Bloomberg Billionaire Index says he has $33 billion.

Jeff Yass created a Wall Street firm with partners called the Susquehanna International Group.

Jeff Yass is a huge supporter of charter schools. He created the annual Yass Prize, which is administered by the anti-public school organization called “The Center for Education Reform.” CER supports every kind of choice (charters, vouchers, online charters, for-profit charters, homeschooling) while vehemently denouncing public schools. CER is opposed to any regulation or accountability of “choice” schools. CER distributes millions in prizes to charter schools, thanks to the Yass family.

ProPublica says there’s something else you don’t know about Jeff Yass.

He funds Republican candidates and election deniers.

He opposes abortion.

He funds candidates who oppose critical race theory.

His top priority is to defund public schools.

According to ProPublica:

The firm he and his friends founded, Susquehanna International Group, is a sprawling global company that makes billions of dollars. Yass and his team used their numerical expertise to make rapid-fire computer-driven trades in options and other securities, eventually becoming a giant middleman in the markets for stocks and other securities. If you have bought stock or options on an app like Robinhood or E-Trade, there’s a good chance you traded with Susquehanna without knowing it. Today, Yass, 63, is one of the richest and most powerful financiers in the country.

But one crucial aspect of his ascent to stratospheric wealth has transpired out of public view. Using the same prowess that he’s applied to race tracks and options markets, Yass has taken aim at another target: his tax bill.

There, too, the winnings have been immense: at least $1 billion in tax savings over six recent years, according to ProPublica’s analysis of a trove of IRS data. During that time, Yass paid an average federal income tax rate of just 19%, far below that of comparable Wall Street traders.

Yass has devised trading strategies that reduce his tax burden but push legal boundaries. He has repeatedly drawn IRS audits, yet has continued to test the limits. Susquehanna has often gone to court to fight the government, with one multiyear audit battle ending in a costly defeat. The firm has maintained in court filings that it complied with the law.

Yass’ low rate is particularly notable because Susquehanna, by its own description, specializes in short-term trading. Money made from such rapid trades is typically taxed at rates around 40%.

In recent years, however, Yass’ annual income has, with uncanny consistency, been made up almost entirely of income taxed at the roughly 20% rate reserved for longer-term investments.

Congress long ago tried to stamp out widely used techniques that seek to transform profits taxed at the high rate into profits taxed at the low rate. But Yass and his colleagues have managed to avoid higher taxes anyway.

The tax savings have contributed to an explosion in wealth for Yass, who has increasingly poured that fortune into candidates and causes on the political right. He has spent more than $100 million on election campaigns in recent years. The money has gone to everything from anti-tax advocacy and charter schools to campaigns against so-called critical race theory and for candidates who falsely say the 2020 election was stolen and seek to ban abortion.

Grassroots groups, led by the Working Families Party, held a protest in front of his offices to protest his funding of groups that undermine democracy.

The LittleSis Project, which tracks the connections among rightwing funders and organizations, has more information about Yass. He is the money man behind Pennsylvania’s rightwing political machine. His top priority is school privatization. He wants to dismantle public schools. Read the article.

Yass’s influence over state politics doesn’t stop after elections are over. His money gets distributed throughout the right-wing network in the state and influences legislation and the conservative agenda year round. The right-wing organizations that spend Yass’s money consistently and successfully lobby to cut corporate taxes, bust unions, block climate solutions, ban abortion, target trans youth, and prevent what the right calls “critical race theory” from being taught in schools.

The Pennsylvania Capital Star worries about what Yass is doing to our democracy.

Yass is a threat to democracy in Pennsylvania. Our organizations were in the trenches during the 2020 election organizing on the frontline against MAGA Republicans, white nationalists, and conspiracy-riddled extremists. Yass was funding them. Despite Yass trying to back away from those associations publicly and in the press, this year he quietly continued to fund those same organizations like the Club for Growth – a right-wing front group that backed nearly 50 election deniers across the country.

What a guy. Does Senator Corey Booker know? Does Senator Michael Bennett know? Does Representative Hakeem Jeffries know? Does the Center for American Progress know?

Jeff Yass’s enthusiastic support of charter schools is another reason why charter schools should not get federal funding. Why should the US Department of Education spend $440 million a year to open new charter schools (half of which never open), when Jeff Yass and his partners could easily foot the bill, along with other billionaires like the Waltons, Michael Bloomberg, Charles Koch, and Betsy DeVos?

For billionaires like Yass, that amount is pocket change. Or, as the saying goes, chump change.