Wallets Open Up on Wall Street

By: Wall Street Journal

Industry Employees Are Largest Source Of Candidates’ Cash

Despite Wall Street’s recent woes, people who work in the financial industry continue to dig deep for political donations to Republican and Democratic candidates for president.

Employees of Wall Street firms are the single largest source of campaign cash, accounting for a total of $50.4 million in financial contributions to the candidates so far this election cycle. That is more than any other industry sector, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of campaign-finance data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

As candidates load up for advertising blitzes before “Super Tuesday” primaries on Feb. 5, candidates from both parties are again coming to New York seeking campaign donations. Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican, had a fund-raiser at the St. Regis Hotel last night that was hosted by Merrill Lynch & Co. Chief Executive John Thain, private-equity giant Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman John Whitehead.

Mr. McCain recently spent $1 million on advertising ahead of the Florida primary next Tuesday. Voters in more than 20 states, including California and New York, go to the polls Feb. 5.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton heads to her home state tomorrow for two fund-raisers. The Clinton campaign hopes to raise $15 million through these and other means to fund her campaign through Feb. 5.

Contributions from Wall Street have favored Republicans, who have collected 54% of donations from financial companies. Wall Street is the No. 1 source of donations to every major presidential candidate in both parties, except former North Carolina Democratic Sen. John Edwards, who is favored by the legal industry, according to the data.

Lawyers and lobbyists are the second-largest source of contributions to the candidates, with $34.8 million in donations. Together, the finance and legal industries are responsible for nearly a quarter of the $354 million donated to the presidential candidates as of Sept. 30. The next round of campaign-finance information, covering the three-month period ending Dec. 31, will be released at the end of the month.

Employees of financial firms, lawyers and lobbyists make up 46% of all large donations — contributions of $200 or more — to the presidential candidates. Each of the other industry sectors is responsible for just a fraction of the donations to the candidates.

According to the data, people who work in Hollywood, communications or electronics rank a distant third with $13.3 million in donations to the candidates. Other top sources of donations were employees of the health-care industry with $9.5 million, construction with $6.1 million and energy with $3.1 million. People who work in the defense industry gave $502,000, according to the data.

Not surprisingly, the two candidates from New York are winning the race for donations on Wall Street. Mrs. Clinton and former New York City Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani lead with $12.3 million and $10.6 million, respectively, in campaign donations from employees of Wall Street firms.

Employees of Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Morgan Stanley rank as the top individual sources of donations to the presidential candidates, according to the data.

Goldman employees were the largest contributor to Mr. Obama, the second-largest giver to Mrs. Clinton and the fifth-largest to Mr. Edwards. Goldman employees donated $369,000 to Mr. Obama and $350,000 to Mrs. Clinton.

Other top Wall Street givers to Mr. Obama include employees of Lehman Brothers ($229,000), J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. ($217,000) and Citigroup Inc. ($181,000).

The top seven companies that have produced the most money for Mr. Giuliani are all financial firms, including Ernst & Young LLP, hedge fund Elliott Management and Credit Suisse Group.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also has fared well on Wall Street. A founder of Bain Capital, Mr. Romney has scored with employees of Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. Employees of his former company have donated $112,000 to his campaign, according to the data.

Unlike Wall Street, lawyers heavily favor Democrats with their political donations. Lawyers have donated $9.6 million to Mrs. Clinton, $8.2 million to Mr. Edwards and $7.9 million to Mr. Obama.

Mr. Giuliani, a former prosecutor and partner with Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, raised $3.2 million from others in his profession. That was more than any other Republican but less than half as much as the leading Democratic candidates.

Pennsylvania-based law firm Blank Rome LLP was the top source of donations to Mr. McCain, who collected $141,000 from employees of the firm. Mr. McCain fared well with employees of Greenberg Traurig LLP, a Miami firm that ranks as his third-largest contributor. As the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Mr. McCain took the lead in investigating convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was a lobbyist with Greenberg Traurig.

Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton led all others with donations from lobbyists. Mrs. Clinton collected $568,000 from lobbyists, while Mr. McCain has $340,000.

–Alex Frangos and T.W. Farnam contributed to this article.

Write to Brody Mullins at brody.mullins@wsj.com

* Content From the Wall Street Journal supplied by Elva Ramirez:

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