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Dickson reports: "In 2008 Wall Street loved Barack Obama. Four years later, even after billions in bailout money went to the banks under Obama's watch, the tide has turned - by about $20 million."

Employees of financial-services companies have given Democrats $20 million less than they have given to Republicans during the current election cycle. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Employees of financial-services companies have given Democrats $20 million less than they have given to Republicans during the current election cycle. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Wall Street Abandons Obama, Democrats

By Caitlin Dickson, The Daily Beast

19 August 12


In a reversal from 2008, employees of financial-services companies have given most of their $128 million and counting in 2012 political donations to groups and candidates on the right. Sorry, Obama.

n 2008 Wall Street loved Barack Obama. Four years later, even after billions in bailout money went to the banks under Obama's watch, the tide has turned - by about $20 million.

That's the difference between what securities and investment firms and their employees have given to Republican candidates, the GOP, and right-leaning political-action committees during the current election cycle ($56 million) and what they've given to Democrats ($35 million), according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Goldman Sachs and its workers, for instance, made more than $6 million in political contributions in 2008, according to the CRP, which based its research on data provided by the Federal Election Commission. Some 75 percent of that loot went to the Democratic Party or one of its candidates, and 25 percent went to Republicans. In the 2012 cycle, the firm or its employees have so far given nearly $5 million, with the majority (56 percent) going to the GOP.

One reason for the shift, according to the CRP, might be that people in finance tend to donate to the party that controls Congress and therefore the finance committees. In 2008 that was the Democrats. Today it's the Republicans.

And while the rightward shift is notable, so too is the percentage of money now being donated by Wall Street to outside groups (i.e., super PACs) that are able to accept unlimited and anonymous donations.

Here's a look at who's giving what to whom:

1. Goldman Sachs: Still on Top

The gold-plated firm is still listed as the biggest political donor on Wall Street. Goldman has also jumped on the super-PAC bandwagon, with 20 percent of its donations going to "soft money," or outside groups.

2. Clarium Capital Management: Out of Nowhere

The investment-management firm and hedge fund founded by Peter Thiel, an early Facebook investor and PayPal cofounder, wasn't among the list of top financial-sector donors during the last presidential election. Now it's No. 2, having given $3.8 million in political contributions so far during this election cycle. What's notable about Clarium is that 99 percent of its donations are to outside groups unaffiliated with one party or another - those super PACs. The 1 percent of Clarium's political money that can be classified as partisan has gone to the Republican Party. According to FEC filings, Thiel himself has donated $135,000 to Revolution PAC, a super PAC dedicated to electing Ron Paul president, and $2.6 million to pro-Paul super PAC Endorse Liberty Inc.

3. Bain Capital: Lovin' the GOP

Romney's alma mater barely made the list of top Wall Street donors back in 2008, but this year, the private-equity firm has gotten a bit more political. Rising to the third spot from 13th, Bain and its employees have contributed more than $3.4 million during the 2012 election cycle: 17 percent has gone to Democrats, 19 percent to Republicans, and the rest to "outside groups."

4. Friess Associates: All About the Super Pac.

A newcomer on the list, at No. 4, is Friess Associates, an investment management firm founded by Foster Friess, one of the biggest political donors in the 2012 election. Friess Associates has donated more than $2.5 million this year so far, but just 6 percent of it has been to a party, specifically, the GOP. The rest has gone to outside groups, which may not be surprising since Friess financed the pro-Santorum Red, White and Blue fund and gave nearly $1.7 million to Rick Santorum's presidential campaign before he dropped out of the race. At the time, Friess announced he was shifting his support to the Romney campaign and might even start donating to Karl Rove's Crossroads group.

5. Elliott Management: Red, White and Red

Elliott went from seventh on CRB's list of Wall Street donors to No. 16. But what's really notable about the investment banking affiliate of the Elliott Associates L.P. hedge fund is that Elliott remains the only company whose political donations come solely from individuals and go 100 percent to Republicans. Founder Paul Singer is known both for his superb money management and his harsh criticisms of the Obama administration. A Forbes article from earlier this year describes Singer as "a passionate defender of the 1 percent" who's given $1 million to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC and more than $220,000 to Republican candidates across the country since Obama's election in 2008.

6. Wachovia, Lehman, RIP

Comparing the 2008 list of Wall Street donors with this year's is a reminder of the toll the banking crisis has taken. Most striking is the absence of investment bank Lehman Brothers, which was No. 6 on the list in 2008, spending $2.2 million, 64 percent of which went to Democrats. your social media marketing partner


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+45 # orwell, by george 2012-08-19 09:02
abandons? they got 20 million less.
big deal.
the reality is both parties are the servants of wealth and the military-indust rial-financial complex.
+7 # LiberalRN 2012-08-19 11:22
Quoting orwell, by george:
abandons? they got 20 million less.
big deal.
the reality is both parties are the servants of wealth and the military-industrial-financial complex.

Maybe. It's a matter of degree. But don't underestimate the impact of $20m out of one pocket and into the other.
+10 # NanFan 2012-08-19 13:52
Quoting LiberalRN:
Quoting orwell, by george:
abandons? they got 20 million less.
big deal.
the reality is both parties are the servants of wealth and the military-industrial-financial complex.

Maybe. It's a matter of degree. But don't underestimate the impact of $20m out of one pocket and into the other.

Yes, I see fire in the sky and on US land come November, and it's not from natural wildfires; it's from the pockets of the rich into the pockets of the uber-rich who will "RULE" over the biggest proportionate poor EVER!

Look out...the Republiscum are about to steal another one...put a cheat and a hater in the White House again...and most won't even know that's what they did with their votes until they're scrambling for their very lives and that of their children and grandchildren.

Wake up America! Shake up America NOW!

0 # RMDC 2012-08-21 04:53
This is just the beginning. By the end of the election season, Romney will be ahead of Obama by hundreds of millions in Wall Street money. The funds that go to 501-c-4 don't have to be disclosed, so we will never learn the real amounts.

Obama got the lion share of Wall Street money in 2008, but now Obama has served his purpose and will be tossed out like yesterday’s papers. He will be re-cycled like Bill Clinton has been to join the Bush family’s charitable efforts – parachuting into any nation that suffers a natural disaster to take control of the relief funding and channel it into US investors and real estate speculators. Most of the billions collected to rebuild Haiti after the earthquake have not gone to Haiti. Very little rebuilding has happened. Rather US corps got the money.

I think Romney will bring real austerity measures to the US. Obama just could not sell them. There is still some residual defense in democrats in congress for programs like social security and medicare. So the republicans will do the job with truncheons and force.

This is what “democracy” and the “freest elections in the world” look like. We will be told again that the people have spoken and expressed their will. Romney will say he has a mandate from the people to fix the economy and the debt.

Vote for Nobody -- Nobody will tell the truth.
+43 # df312 2012-08-19 09:58
Wall Street is a cancer that needs to be excised.
+30 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-08-19 11:11
Quoting df312:
Wall Street is a cancer that needs to be excised.

I am in complete agreement, and the perpetrators of this disaster need to be prosecuted. Their punishment should be forfeiture of everything they made in this criminal act and jail. Not the country club variety of "jail". Fat chance, right? Even the "justice system" is bought. These SOB's have done infinitely more damage to the citizens of this country than any petty thief. The scope and depth financial crimes are every bit as violent in their impact on people as someone with a weapon. Job loss, foreclosure, lack of medical care, the list goes on, calls for complete take down and regulation of the corporate, financial, military, insurance complex. Reinstate Glass-Steagall. Fear of regulation is why Wall Street is giving more to the Republicans, because more Democrats would support regulation. The problem is that both parties are corrupt and complicit with the Wall Street Mafia. Damn, that's depressing.
+5 # Sea Star RN 2012-08-19 12:07
"...The problem is that both parties are corrupt and complicit with the Wall Street Mafia...."

Yes and the answer is outside government.
They need to be marginalized and mimimalized. They need to know it will be us against the "corporate, financial, military, insurance complex." and THEM!! No more assigning them titles... no respect!

Start out with a campaign to get people to Move their Money out of corporate banks....

"...Consumer Banking is the largest division in the company, and provides financial services to consumers and small businesses. The acquisition of FleetBoston and MBNA significantly expanded its size and range of services, resulting in about 51% of the company's total revenue in 2005. It competes primarily with the retail banking arms of America's three other megabanks: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. The Consumer Banking organization includes over 5,800 retail branches and over 18,000 ATMs across the United States..."
+3 # mdhome 2012-08-19 22:39
I think they are riding a dead elephant, but I fear for the republican having rigged the election, otherwise why run such utter idiotic failures.
+31 # ecoforestree 2012-08-19 10:04
Just :hedging" their bets. Heh heh...The banksters own both candidates and political parties.
+26 # xflowers 2012-08-19 10:23
Of course Wall Street's backing Romney. He's one of their own.
+2 # 666 2012-08-19 18:29
I think it just goes to show you (Obama) can only be anyone's (wall st's) whore for so long before they get tired and start looking elsewhere for a better trick...
+18 # DPM 2012-08-19 10:41
Wall Street firms and banks need to start losing their ass-sets!
+9 # doneasley 2012-08-19 11:28
So, what else is new? It's out in the open now since the Citizen's United ruling by the SCOTUS. Remember the Romoney trip to the Olympics, Israel, and Poland just a few weeks ago? The thing that offended me most - and should have offended ALL Americans - happened in Israel. Romoney had the colossal gall to have his money man, Sheldon Adelson, in all of his meetings with Israeli dignitaries, including Prime Minister Netenyahu. And it wasn't just the fact that this man has pledged up to $100 Million of his own money to defeat President Obama, but he is currently in danger of indictment for bribery. There were other Romoney money men there also, but seeing this guy, Adelson, dictating words to Romoney was like watching a Tea Party on the patio with a poisonous asp (ass?) in the grass. It still turns my stomach to think about it.

What has happened to American politics? OBSCENE!!!
+5 # Activista 2012-08-19 11:37
Statistics are that $1 of political investment (bet) transfers into $100 of PROFIT. Banksters (gang leaders) got billions under the Obama - Money controls everything in USA - it is the SYSTEM not politics ....
+2 # dick 2012-08-19 12:51
Wall St. OWNS Barry. That's why he is engaged in impeachable Obstruction of Justice for those he Serves & Protects. BEFORE Holder's phony investigation, Barry gave Wall St. criminals a Nixon Preemptive Pardon, proclaiming they had done "nothing illegal." Then spineless Eric of, by, & for Wall St., pretended to investigate before announcing his criminal whitewash. Barry wants his 45% of Gangster payoffs; it neutralizes GOP's "share."
+7 # MidwestTom 2012-08-19 13:06
Obama is not being completely deserted, Irwin Jacobs and Haim Jacobs, two prominent Jewish Wall Streeters just donated $3 million to his campaign. REmember also that Jon Corzine is still uncharged. Also, notice that nobody on Wall Street goes to jail, they just pay fines that represent two or three months profit. It is business as usual.
+3 # brux 2012-08-19 14:04
That's interesting, it is about the only sign I can see that Obama might actually nod his head to the left in his next term and that corporations and wall st. already know that. Could be a good sign, there='s no way outside heavy cheating that Romney becomes President in my opinion.
+4 # 666 2012-08-19 18:31
been lots of cheatin in recent elections. they are about as dirty as politicians... can we get some 3rd world banana republics to monitor our elections for fairness?? it might be a step forward
+3 # Buddha 2012-08-19 15:20
With Romoney and Ryan proposing huge tax cuts for the SuperRich, themselves and every Wall St. executive included, and with Obama supporting the mild tax increases on their class of the Buffett Rule and letting the Bush rates expire for income >$250K, that is all it takes. That, and Obama had the gall to call them fat-cats once.
+5 # dbriz 2012-08-19 16:15
Fallacious headline aside, no one need worry about Wall Street "abandoning" Obama or the Dems.

In fact, the headline is more likely designed to gain traction for Obama with the progressive left; those who steadfastly and admirably have seen through the charade of "...hope and promise..." to the reality that Obama and the Dems are simply a slicked up version of Bush/Cheney.

Many progressives, like paleo/conservat ive/libertarian s on the right who have abandoned the Republican's, are ready cut loose the Dems in opposition to a foreign policy run by neocons in conjunction with Likudniks, an economy tilted in the extreme toward big banks and cronyism with the increasing realization that DC is de facto controlled by a "shadow government" with power orchestrated among the above mentioned along with decisive input from the CIA operational wing and the MIC.

It's a neat little system; the big banksters do the high profit financing, while our global corporate masters get the business profits and the CIA/MIC provides the muscle.

The politicians get rich, re-elected and dutifully provide the public cover for the whole operation.

Ain't Democracy a grand thing!

Sadly, the loonies of the left and right make up a majority of both parties and can be counted upon to play their part perfectly.
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2012-08-19 19:38
Guess it is time to do an audit and continue investigating the ForeClosure Kings.
I believe a cap on salaries could be started right now and Democrats can help get it going. State Banks could be looked into for foreclosures a bit. Let us put them all under Microscopes.
+2 # mppeace 2012-08-19 20:30
Back in 2008, Wall Street was so shocked by its enormous self-created financial credit meltdown that it banked on "Punahou Barry" in "Saving Private Capital." But after getting over $26 Trillion in Bailouts from Mr. 'O-bomber' as well as "Helicopter Ben" Bernanke, Wall Street is now awash in record profits. And since the American Public has not gone out to the streets in millions to protest vigorously, the Profitariat now feels politically safe to really sock it to the 99%, by openly backing the most-rapacious GOP ticket in History. So it is overtly sudsidizing a vicious class warfare on workers, just as it is doing overseas by openly backing "regime changes" in Libya, Syria, and threatening to attack Iran. So now, it's a mad race between financial collapse of the Clunkered Capitalist system and the rush toward WW III! A truly "Sophie's Choice" for our Planet's 7 billion citizens, indeed...
+1 # RMDC 2012-08-21 04:57
Capitalist system and the rush toward WW III!

Your numbering system is wrong. The Cold War was WW III. The GWOT is WW IV.

But why count. We've been in a permanent state of war since WW II. There is no end in sight. As the neo-cons clearly told us in 2002, this war will last for generations and maybe forever.

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