The Corner

The Real Party of Wall Street

The Democrats’ populist assault on all things Wall Street, we are told, helps them politically regardless of the legislative outcome.

Democrats, NBC Nightly News reported, “actually scheduled [Monday’s] vote knowing they would lose and they did because they see it as a political win — better able to paint Republicans as too friendly with Wall Street.” Roll Call adds “Democrats got exactly what they wanted Monday night:  a concrete way to try to tar Republicans as beholden to Wall Street schemers who would put the country in danger of another financial industry collapse.” The take at Fox News was no different: “Democrats believe the staging of such votes will help them portray Republicans as agent of Wall Street greed.”

Should they succeed in painting the GOP as the slaves of Wall Street, it will surely rank among the most brazen attempts to redefine political reality in quite some time. Why? Because, if campaign contributions amount to any sort of referendum on the 2008 election, the Democrats won going away among these “Wall Street schemers.” Politically, if not culturally, the denizens of Wall Street reside comfortably in the Democratic column.

Conduct a few searches on the Huffington Post’s Fundrace 2008 site and you’ll see what I mean. Search by “employer.” When it comes to all the major Wall Street firms currently gracing our front pages, the results may floor you and should be posted in the cubicle of every editor in every mainstream media outlet in America.

Here are some examples, all of which relate to giving during the 2008 presidential election:


·        Over 550 employees of Goldman Sachs contributed enough to one or more of the 2008 presidential candidates to show up on the Federal Election Commission’s data base — 388 contributed over $814,000 to Democrats while only 163 favored the GOP, dropping a more modest $258,000 into their coffers.

·        At Lehman Brothers 310 employees voted Democratic with their contributions, to the tune of $642,000; meanwhile, 154 cut checks to Republicans totaling about $262,000.

·        Nearly 500 Morgan Stanley employees sent over $834,000 to the Democrats while 247 of their colleagues deposited less than half that amount (under $400,000) in Republican campaign accounts.

·        Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac employees favored the Democrats by a 6 to 1 margin, sending $220,000 to the Democrats and only $37,500 to the GOP.  


The Democrats cleaned up in similarly spectacular fashion at other big banks and financial firms, including Bank of America, Bear Stearns, UBS, Wells Fargo, Barclay’s Capital, and Citibank/Citigroup. (Merrill Lynch employees were the sole exception to this rule.)

While these searches are limited (I only searched for the biggest and best known firms), they are nevertheless revealing. Over 3,550 employees of these firms voted for the Democrats with their pocketbooks, sending them over $5 million; fewer than half that number (1,620) sided with the Republicans, whose take was approximately $2.25 million. 


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