At least four candidates vying to represent the 10th congressional district are invested in Grand Canyon Education, a publicly traded for-profit company that operates Grand Canyon University, which has publicly taken an extremely anti-abortion view.
Dan Goldman, a former federal prosecutor and current race favorite, has an investment of up to $15,000 in the company, according to financial disclosure forms.
Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Congresswoman Jo Anne Simon and former Representative Liz Holtzman are also each invested in mutual funds who hold positions in Grand Canyon Education – but these three candidates argue that one of the four investments does not is not like the others.
Goldman claims a net worth of between $64 million and $253 million. None of his rivals – who also include Rep. Mondaire Jones and Rep. Yuh-Line Niou – come close to him.
Goldman’s investment in the company, which it disclosed in a disclosure covering the period from January 2021 to June 2022, indicates its stake is between $1,001 and $15,000. A spokesperson for his campaign, Simone Kanter, noted that shares in the company were purchased for him in August 2011 through a blind trust when Goldman was a Justice Department prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. Through the trust, Goldman bought 11 shares at $14.37 apiece — a total investment of $158.11 at the time, Kantor said, who noted that Goldman still only owned 11 shares, which would bring the current value of the investment to approximately $941.
In its literature, Grand Canyon has made it clear that it is staunchly pro-life. In its ethical position statement, it says that “As a Christian institution, GCU affirms that every human being is precious to God and should be treated with the dignity and respect appropriate to creatures who bear the image and likeness of Creator”.
A social media post about the school’s “Abortion is Genocide” tour takes a more explicit stance.
“Genocide always involves the dehumanization of an entire class of human beings in order to justify their mistreatment or slaughter,” the message reads. “Those who murdered Jews and blacks have denied the personality of their victims as vehemently as abortion practitioners deny the personality of the unborn child.”
The abortion issue has been a thorn in Goldman’s side since July, when he said he would not oppose a law that bans abortions after a fetus is deemed viable.
He quickly backtracked, saying he had misspoken, but his opponents continued to focus on it – and used him as a cudgel to question whether voters should trust him on the issue. .
Rivera and his campaign recently attacked Goldman over the Grand Canyon investment.
“New Yorkers deserve a representative with a history of fighting and passing laws protecting choice,” Rivera said. “Not one is backing away from their commitment to abortion access and needs scripted talking points on abortion from campaign consultants.”
Rivera’s spokeswoman, Alyssa Cass, used harsher rhetoric.
“Using the profits from your investment in an anti-choice college to self-fund $1 million worth of ads where you claim to be ‘100% pro-choice’ is dishonest and insulting,” she said.
In response, the Goldman team pointed to not only Rivera’s financial disclosure, which lists a mutual fund with current positions in the Grand Canyon, but also that of Simon and Holtzman.
Simon said an investment in a mutual fund doesn’t give the investor a say in the actual stocks in it, unlike an investment in an individual stock like Goldman’s. She also dismissed her campaign’s blind trust explanation as flawed.
“It’s not in blind trust now,” she said. “He’s a prosecutor. If he was pursuing this case, that’s the first thing he would point out.
Holtzman, who managed the city’s pension funds at Comptroller, noted that people who have invested in city funds, like her, don’t have a say in the shares of a mutual fund. , but can only choose which funds to invest in. She also noted that since many of these funds hold positions that track the S&P 500, which changes frequently.
“He tries to blame other people and smear them,” she said. “Shame on him for that.”
Kanter claimed Goldman only learned he was invested in the asset after a reporter brought it to his attention.
“This position was purchased over a decade ago when Dan’s assets were in blind trust while employed by the Southern District of New York. It was unknowingly purchased while a public servant and he only became aware of the asset itself and the heinous values it represents when it was presented to him by the press,” said Kanter. “Dan has already asked his broker to divest himself of this stock. This asset certainly does not reflect Dan’s values, in the same way that he knows it does not reflect the values of the multiple other candidates in this race who have the same advantage.