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Goldman Favors Romney Over Obama in Race for Wall Street Funds

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images

A year after President Barack Obama signed into law the most extensive financial regulations since the Great Depression, Wall Street so far is putting its political money elsewhere.

Employees of Goldman Sachs Group gave Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney $238,250 in the last three months, more than workers at any other company, according to a computer-assisted analysis of Federal Election Commission data. Obama took in $10,113.

Four years ago, employees of New York-based Goldman gave $994,795 to Obama and $234,275 to Romney, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. For both candidates, it was more than any other company’s employees.

In addition, Romney took in $2.1 million from donors reporting a New York state address, where the financial industry is headquartered, FEC data shows. Obama raised $1.3 million during the same period. For the 2008 election, Obama raised $50.5 million in the state; Romney raised $2.8 million, according to the center.

Romney and Obama were among the candidates offering the first looks at their presidential fundraising. Their FEC reports cover donations through June 30.

Dodd-Frank Birthday

A year ago this month, Obama signed into law new rules for a financial industry, which is blamed for contributing to the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. The measure was passed over the objection of most congressional Republicans, and Romney has criticized the law.

“It’s telling that they would make Governor Romney’s support for rolling back Wall Street oversight -- protections put in place to ensure that the financial crisis doesn’t reoccur -- part of their fundraising pitch,” said Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman.

Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Emil Henry Jr., who co-hosted a New York City fundraiser for Romney targeting the financial industry last month, said the former Massachusetts governor is getting support from the financial community “because he is the most capable of the Republican candidates to address the trinity of financial mismanagement by this administration: soaring debt and deficits, record unemployment, and an anemic economy.”

Romney led all Republican candidates by raising $18.3 million. He reported a bank account balance of $12.7 million.

Lobbyists’ Cash

Obama and Romney also part ways on the issue of taking money from lobbyists. Obama won’t accept their cash, saying that in doing so he is distancing himself from special interests. Romney is accepting their checks. According to his FEC report, registered lobbyists brought in $517,450, including Patrick Durkin, a lobbyist for London-based Barclays PLC.

U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota raised $1.6 million, including $1.1 million in donations of less than $200, and transferred $2 million from her congressional campaign account to her presidential committee. She had $3.4 million cash on hand.

Bachman entered the primary on June 13, later than her rivals. She still managed, through her ability to excite grassroots Republicans and Tea Party activists, to raise almost as much and has more money in the bank than most of them.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty reported raising $4.3 million and had $2 million in the bank. The campaign said $610,000 of that total was for the general election.

Representative Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican who gained national attention for yelling, “You lie,” during Obama’s Sept. 9, 2009, address to Congress, contributed $5,000 from his campaign account. Pawlenty’s leadership PAC gave $4,749.

Bush Bundlers

Pawlenty also landed two former top fundraisers for President George W. Bush for his national finance team. In the 2004 presidential, Tom Hicks, chairman of Dallas-based Hicks Holdings LLC, brought in more than $100,000 for Bush and Ray Washburne, chairman and chief executive officer of Dallas-based Charter Holdings helped raise more than $200,000 for the former president’s re-election campaign.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, beset by resignations of his top aides, reported owing more than $1 million, including more than $450,000 to an air charter company for travel and almost $50,000 to the candidate.

Gingrich told the FEC he had raised $2.1 million through June 30 and had $322,222 in the bank. He received $5,000 from his leadership political action committee.

Besides $451,946 for travel, the Gingrich campaign also reported owing $212,060 for website management and $101,144 in legal fees. Gingrich is owed $47,005 for travel and a mailing list.

Gingrich Aides Quit

More than a dozen campaign aides resigned last month, citing disagreements over strategy, the role of Gingrich’s wife, Callista, and money. His two top fundraising aides also quit.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum raised $582,348 and had $229,115 in the bank.

Businessman Herman Cain raised $2 million, with $1.1 million in donations of under $200, and lent his campaign $500,000. He had a bank account balance of $481,895.

Obama’s campaign committee reported raising $46 million during the previous three months and entered July with $37.1 million in the bank.

As in the case of Bachmann, the president’s campaign highlighted more than 500,000 donors who gave less than $200.

Clooney and Iger

The figures included $12.8 million from a joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee in which donors could donate as much as $35,800 to the party and campaign. Those giving the maximum included actor George Clooney and Robert Iger, chief executive officer of the Burbank, California-based, Walt Disney Co. Employees of Mountain View, California-based Google donated $29,207.

Four years ago, Obama took in $58.6 million though June 30 of the non-election year, though he began raising money months earlier than this time. During the three months from April to June 2007, he raised $32.9 million. He announced his intention to seek a second four-year term in April of this year.

Obama announced his fundraising totals on Wednesday, saying that the campaign and the party took in more than $86 million between them. The Democratic National Committee will spend most of its money to re-elect the president.

The president on Friday released a list of 244 people who raised at least $50,000 for his re-election campaign by donation bundling, the practice of soliciting friends and associates to make donations to the campaign.

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