Born in 1952, Hamilton Fish V (the Fifth) hails from a family whose political influence stretches back to the late 19th century. His great-great-grandfather was born in New York City in 1808 and grew up to become a congressman, a New York State governor, one of the first Republicans ever elected to the United States Senate, and U.S. Secretary of State during Ulysses S. Grant’s administration.
Fish’s great-grandfather, Hamilton Fish II, also became a congressman and an influential Republican Party figure.
Fish’s grandfather, Hamilton Fish III (1888-1991), was a Republican leader in the House of Representatives. History remembers him best as a political opponent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and for Roosevelt’s famous 1940 speech that repeatedly criticized the three top GOP congressional leaders and made a chant of their last names, “Martin, Barton and Fish.”
Fish’s father, Hamilton Fish IV, was also a successful Republican congressman from New York.
But Hamilton Fish V became a political leftist and joined the Democratic Party. In 1977 he put together a group of investors who purchased the near-bankrupt magazine, The Nation. Fish served as the periodical’s publisher until 1985, when it was sold to former Wall Street investment banker Arthur Carter.
In 1988 Fish made an unsuccessful run for a congressional seat. In 1994, when his Republican father retired after serving 26 years in Congress, Fish ran as a Democrat to replace him — but was trounced by the Republican candidate.
Fish is also a political advisor to George Soros, billionaire financier of the left. During the 2000 presidential primary campaign, Fish was instrumental in the planning of Soros’ alternative Shadow Convention — an assemblage of radicals which, under Soros’ influence, metamorphosed into the so-called Shadow Party that has shaped contemporary Democratic politics and funded many leftwing causes. Between 1999 and 2004, Soros’ Open Society Institute made grants totaling at least $270,000 to entities on whose boards Fish and/or Nation publisher-owner Victor Navasky sat — including a $50,000 grant to The Nation Institute.