The Corner

Economy & Business

Wall Street’s Favorites

Hillary Clinton speaks at the IBEW union hall in Commerce, Calif., May 24, 2016. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

In an interview with Amy Chua (who is a foreign-policy scholar at Yale when she is not offering parenting advice), Isaac Chotiner of Slate engages in a little question begging, opening one of his inquiries thus: “Wall Street gives more donations to Republicans than Democrats . . .”

Well.

The largest Wall Street investment banks are Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and Citigroup. Which presidential candidates did these firms and the people associated with them favor? According to OpenSecrets.org:

In 2016, the top recipient of Goldman Sachs donations was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In 2016, the top recipient of JPMorgan political donations was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In 2016, the top recipient of Morgan Stanley political donations was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In 2016, the top recipient of Bank of America political donations was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In 2016, the top recipient of Citigroup political donations was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That’s among candidates. In some cases, the largest single recipient of donations was a party committee or host committee. In no case was it the Republican party committee: Goldman’s top recipient was DNC Services Corp. For JPMorgan, DNC Services Corp was No. 2, after Mrs. Clinton, as was the case with Morgan Stanley. B of A gave $1 million to each of the convention host committees, and its next largest recipients were: Mrs. Clinton and DNC Services Corp. Citigroup’s top recipients were Mrs. Clinton, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies PAC, and DNC Services Corp.

In 2008, Wall Street heavily favored Barack Obama, as I reported at the time. In 2012, Gordon Gekko & Co. suffered some buyers’ remorse. But it simply is not the case, and has not been the case for a long time, that Wall Street (if by “Wall Street” we mean the major U.S.-based investment banks and the people who work at them) is strongly Republican. The hedge fund guys? They favored Mrs. Clinton by a factor of (check my English-major math) 2,450 to 1, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s not surprising, given that Donald Trump spent much of the campaign promising to raise their taxes. (He really meant private-equity guys, but he doesn’t seem to know the difference.)

Who was the top recipient of all combined securities-and-investment donations in 2016? Hillary Rodham Clinton, overwhelmingly: She took in about three times as much as the No. 2 recipient, Marco Rubio. Donald Trump was No. 11.

This shouldn’t really be surprising. Rich guys who work in downtown Manhattan, send their kids to Choate, and vacation at Elbow Beach are not exactly Selena Zito’s yinzers. And Democrats have been pretty friendly to Wall Street, in spite of their rhetoric. The only person of any consequence in Washington who is halfway serious about changing the carried-interest tax regime is Donald Trump. (Senator Sanders remains somewhat short of halfway serious.) Add in Wall Street lawyers and you have a strongly Democratic constituency. One Wall Street lawyer I met joked (maybe he wasn’t joking) that he was going to christen his yacht the Frank-Dodd. Wall Street lawyers love Elizabeth Warren. Regulation makes them money.

Isaac Chotiner, and his editors at Slate, owe readers a fuller account.

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