J.D. Vance, an ally of tech investor Peter Thiel, made almost $1 million in the period before he launched his Ohio Senate campaign

Technology

JD Vance, the venture capitalist and author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” takes photos with supporters after a rally Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Middletown, Ohio, where he announced he is joining the crowded Republican race for the Ohio U.S. Senate seat being left by Rob Portman.
Jeff Dean | AP

Republican Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance, an ally of billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel and an advocate for Trump-style conservative populism, earned nearly $1 million in income in the runup to the launch of his campaign.

Most of Vance’s earnings came from his Thiel-backed venture capital firm and royalties from his bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” according to Vance’s financial disclosure, which was reviewed by CNBC.

A spokeswoman for Vance’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment on the newly released disclosure. Vance appeared to have previously missed the 90 day extension to file no later than Oct. 29, but his spokeswoman previously suggested to CNBC that they had an extra 30 days to comply.

“We’re waiting on a few additional pieces to include in the report. Once received, we will file well within the 30-day period provided for in the rules,” Taylor Van Kirk, Vance’s spokeswoman, told CNBC last month.

Vance announced his candidacy this past summer. He has made attacks on Big Tech a key focus of his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat that Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is vacating. Yet a great deal of his income as listed in the new disclosure report came from ventures linked to Facebook board member Thiel and other tech investors.

Vance made just over $400,000 in salary from his Ohio-based venture capital firm Narya Capital. The $93 million firm is backed by Thiel and fellow major tech investors Marc Andreessen, Eric Schmidt and Scott Dorsey, according to Axios. Thiel has put $10 million toward a super PAC backing Vance. Vance once worked at an investment firm called Mithril Capital, which was co-founded by Thiel.

Vance made a little over $125,000 from the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, a startup investment arm of Washington, D.C.-based Revolution, which was founded by AOL co-founder Steve Case. Vance also received $125,000 in salary from J.D. Vance Enterprises LLC, which, according to Ohio business records, is intended to “manage and promote the speaking, writing and media appearances of policy analyst and commentator J.D. Vance.”

Royalties from Vance’s 2016 book “Hillbilly Elegy,” which was adapted into a Netflix movie last year, totaled just over $345,000.

His new disclosure also lists investments into dozens of companies, including Anduril Industries, a defense technology company that for years has received millions of dollars’ worth of government contracts.

Anduril was founded by Palmer Luckey, a previous supporter of former President Donald Trump. Vance’s disclosure shows the investment is worth between $1,000 and $15,000 in corporate securities and he made very little money off the investment. Thiel is also an investor into Anduril, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Under his assets, Vance lists Narya Capital. He appears to have made an additional $1 million-plus in returns from the fund.

Vance also lists BTC, the abbreviation for bitcoin, under his list of assets. His investment is valued between $100,000 and $250,000 into BTC. Vance has previously blasted efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies. He also owns between $50,000 and $100,000 in Walmart stock.

Vance is running against fellow right-wing candidate Josh Mandel, among others, for the Republican nomination in the Ohio U.S. Senate race. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who ran for president in the 2020 primary, is among the Democrats seeking the seat. Trump won the state in 2016 and 2020.

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