The Washington Post reports: Despite frosty relations with the titans of Wall Street, President Obama has still managed to raise far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate, according to new fundraising data.
Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own campaign committee and for the Democratic National Committee, which will aid in his reelection effort.
As a result, Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all of the GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data. The numbers show that Obama retains a persistent reservoir of support among Democratic financiers who have backed him since he was an underdog presidential candidate four years ago.
Obama’s fundraising advantage is clear in the case of Bain Capital, the Boston-based private-equity firm that was co-founded by Romney, and where the Republican made his fortune. Not surprisingly, Romney has strong support at the firm, raking in $34,000 from 18 Bain employees, according to the analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
But Obama has outdone Romney on his own turf, collecting $76,600 from Bain Capital employees through September — and he needed only three donors to do it.
Obama’s ties to Wall Street donors could complicate Democratic plans to paint Republicans as puppets of the financial industry, particularly in light of the Occupy Wall Street protests that have gone global over the past week.
In response to the protests, the Obama campaign and other Democrats have stepped up their attacks on Romney and other Republicans for their opposition to Wall Street regulations.
One top banking executive who raises money for Obama, discussing fundraising efforts on the condition of anonymity, said reports of disaffection with the president “are exaggerated and overblown.” He said a strong contingent of financiers in New York, Chicago and California remains supportive of Obama and his economic policies, even as some have turned on him.
But, this donor added, “it probably helps from a political perspective if he’s not seen as a Wall Street guy.”
Obama has raised a total of $15.6 million from employees in the industry, according to the Post analysis. Nearly $12 million of that went to the DNC, the analysis shows.
Romney has raised less than half that much from the industry, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry brought in about $2 million. No other Republican candidate has raised more than $402,000 from the finance sector, which also includes insurance and real estate interests.
Even so, Obama clearly has trouble appealing to Wall Street fundraisers, who have emerged in recent years as among the most important sources of campaign cash for major national politicians.
Put aside the DNC money, for example, and Obama’s numbers look much worse: just $3.9 million from the financial sector, compared with Romney’s $7.5 million.
Obama’s campaign committee has raised notably less money from major banking firms such as Goldman Sachs, whose employees gave him more than $1 million in the 2008 cycle. So far this year, about two dozen Goldman employees together have given Obama’s committee about $45,000, one-sixth of the amount Romney’s campaign has taken in.
But six Goldman employees also gave a total of $92,000 to the DNC side of Obama’s fundraising effort.
Obama retains a core group of supporters on Wall Street who are central to his fundraising efforts. About a third of his top 40 fundraisers, who have helped bundle together $500,000 or more in contributions, hail from the finance sector, including big names such as former New Jersey governor Jon S. Corzine of MF Global, hedge-fund manager Orin Kramer and UBS executive Robert Wolf.
Obama’s chief of staff, William M. Daley, was also vice chairman at J.P. Morgan Chase before coming to the White House this year.
Obama’s support within the financial industry tends to be more diffuse than the top Wall Street firms. One of his primary sources of cash, for example, is a small Chicago firm called Chopper Trading, which employs a technique of rapid, computer-assisted trading that some experts blame for volatility in the stock market.