Barack Obama is Wall Street's Chosen One

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 5/23/2008 12:05:00 AM
I went over to to get the latest scoop on the fundraising activities of the US presidential candidates. While not totally comprehensive, the site offers a workable picture of the candidates' funding activities. Actually, the title above is kind of misleading for an obvious reason: we cannot be sure whether a particular candidate is given campaign funds because (a) s/he has a favourable disposition towards an interest group or (b) s/he has the best chance of winning. Consider the case of Wall Street. To hedge their bets, Wall Street firms have not placed all their eggs in one basket, contributing to Obama, Clinton, and McCain's respective campaigns. However the relative proportion of allocated funds may reflect preference and/or the belief that there is a frontrunner. Let us begin with Obama:

1Lawyers/Law Firms$15,019,030
2Misc Business$13,412,381
4Securities & Investment$7,498,503

As you can see, Wall Street firms are fourth among industry group contributions to Obama's campaign. In terms of outright contributions, Wall Street has made the most to the Obama campaign. Further, four of the top five Obama contributors are Wall Street firms:

Goldman Sachs $544,481
University of California $371,266
Ubs Ag $363,257
JPMorgan Chase & Co $353,808
Citigroup Inc $331,946

What about Missus Clinton? Among the remaining Big Three, she comes in second place among Wall Street industry group contributions:

1Lawyers/Law Firms$15,425,314
2Misc Business$8,411,793
3Securities & Investment$6,971,998
5Real Estate$6,077,866

As for her top five contributors, three are Wall Street bigwigs...

DLA Piper $505,200
Goldman Sachs $445,350
Citigroup Inc $406,752
Morgan Stanley $402,845
EMILY's List $323,567

Then there's John McCain. As you all know, he hasn't amassed nearly as much firepower as the Democratic candidates for understandable reasons. By industry group, his top contributors are from:

2Lawyers/Law Firms$4,228,737
3Misc Business$3,892,667
4Securities & Investment$3,764,664
5Real Estate$2,915,560

McCain hasn't gotten even half as much as either Obama or Clinton from Wall Street. Going by campaign contributions, it appears that the supposedly populist, middle-class loving Democrats are funded more by Wall Street than the more business-friendly (at least in rhetoric) John McCain. Who would have thought his largest contributor base is the AARP set? Go figure. I round it up with the top contributors to McCain's campaign, "only" two of which are [yawn] Wall Street biggies:

Merrill Lynch $226,550
Blank Rome LLP $222,050
Citigroup Inc $206,102
Greenberg Traurig LLP $173,837
AT&T Inc $149,305

Based on campaign contributions so far, you could make a case of McCain being the least influenced by the omnipresent Wall Street contribution machine. Visit the site to understand the method they use to trace campaign funds and for periodic updates on the candidates' fundraising activities. Befitting the adage that all politics is local, it is interesting to note that unions and government employee groups loom large in the bigger scheme of things, high-profile Wall Street contributions to presidential candidates aside.