Thomas Steyer, a fundraiser for Barack Obama who spoke at the Democratic National Convention, will step down from his job at the Farallon Capital Management LLC hedge fund, Bloomberg reports. Mr. Steyer "departs at year-end and his partners will buy his share of the firm," the Bloomberg article says, quoting Mr. Steyer, 55, as saying he will focus on "service in one form or another, including continuing participation in our community bank, in encouraging the advanced energy economy and in specific policy initiatives here in California."
There's no mention of it in the Bloomberg article, but at least one possible explanation of the timing of the transaction is tax-related. If Mr. Steyer is selling to his partners his share of the $20 billion hedge fund he founded, he will probably realize some capital gains. If Mr. Obama is reelected, as Mr. Steyer apparently hopes he will be, the top capital gains tax rate at the federal level is scheduled to increase to 23.8% in 2013 from 15% in 2012. Mr. Steyer apparently likes Mr. Obama enough to want him re-elected, but not quite so much that he wants Mr. Obama to be able to spend all that extra tax money that Mr. Steyer would have to pay if he sold his business under the higher rates in 2013 rather than under the lower rates in 2012.