Q&A on the News

Q: Could you please give a brief bio of Thomas Peterffy, who sponsored those anti-socialism TV spots? What is his political and business background? — Lance DeLoach, Thomaston

A: Peterffy was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1944 and couldn’t speak English when he arrived in the United States in 1965. He began designing commodities trading software, according to Forbes, and bought a seat on the American Stock Exchange in 1977. Peterffy traded options until 1993, when he started Interactive Brokers Group, which has helped him become a billionaire. Forbes reported Peterffy was worth $4.6 billion as of September. Peterffy paid for the political ads in which he states: “I grew up in a socialist country and I have seen what that does to people. There is no hope, no freedom, no pride in achievement. The nation became poorer and poorer. And that’s what I see happening here.” Peterffy said he would vote Republican in the election earlier this month and made contributions to the Republican National Committee, Mitt Romney and Republican Congressional campaigns, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Q: When was the last year that the penny was predominantly copper? — Terry Campbell, Big Canoe

A: The U.S. one cent coin, commonly referred to as the penny, was 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc from 1962-82, when it was changed. Current one cent coins are 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper, according the U.S. Mint’s website (www.usmint.gov). One penny cost 2.4 cents to make in 2011, according to CNNMoney.

Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

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