Financial Sector Helps Barack Obama Score Big Money for Reelection Fight
By Michael Beckel on July 22, 2011 10:05 AM
President Barack Obama has relied more on wellconnected Wall Street figures to fund his reelection than he did four years ago when he campaigned as an outsider and an underdog. One-third of the money Obama's elite fund-raising corps has raised on behalf of his re-election has come from the financial sector, according to a new Center for Responsive Politics analysis. Individuals who work in the finance, insurance and real estate sector are responsible for raising at least $11.8 million for Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to the Center's research. All of Obama's bundlers have raised a minimum of $34.95 million, as OpenSecrets Blog previously reported. During his entire 2008 presidential bid, bundlers who worked in the finance, insurance and real estate sector were responsible for a minimum of $16.1 million, according to the Center's research. That's about 21 percent of the $76.5 million estimated minimum amount that these top fund-raisers brought in for Obama's presidential campaign. An exact dollar amounts for how much cash these individuals raised ahead of the 2008 election or during the past few months is not known because the Obama campaign provided only broad ranges of how much money each bundler collected. A precise figure, however, is known for how much the Obama campaign and the DNC raised during the second quarter of the year: $86 million. Thus, at least $1 out of every $8 that the DNC and Obama campaign raised came thanks to a bundler connected to the finance, insurance and real estate industry.
Notably, candidates can only raise a few thousand dollars per individual donor, while party committees like the DNC can raise more than $30,000 per person -making it far easier for a bundler to collect bigger checks when raising money for both a candidate and a party committee. The Center has identified 80 bundlers -- out of 244 whose names were released by the Obama campaign last week -- who are part of the financial sector. Forty-four specifically work for the securities and investment industry. Nine of these 80 bundlers have already raised more than $500,000 -- the top dollar range given by the Obama campaign. Four of them -- former Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine, Evercore Partners executive Charles Myers, Greenstreet Real Estate Partners CEO Steven Green and Azita Raji, a former investment banker for JPMorgan -- did not bundle money for Obama's 2008 campaign. The other five finance-related top-tier Obama bundlers, who are bundling for him again this campaign, are:
Mark and Nancy Gilbert, of Barclays, who worked together to raise money as a couple Blair Effron, of Centerview Partners Kirk Rudy, of Endeavor Real Estate Orin Kramer, of Boston Provident John Emerson, of Capital Group Companies
In all, only 27 bundlers have so far raised at least $500,000 for Obama and the DNC. Meanwhile, employees of law firms and lobbying shops are responsible for at least $6.9 million so far this year, money which has gone to the Obama re-elect campaign and the DNC. During Obama's presidential bid four years ago, individuals in this economic sector were responsible for a minimum of $16.1 million -- with the legal industry being the No. 1 industry among all of Obama's bundlers.
This year, 54 individuals in the legal industry have bundled a minimum of $6.1 million. Three individuals, meanwhile, who work for lobbying firms, have collectively bundled a minimum of $800,000. None of Obama's bundlers are active lobbyists. The same is not true for at least one of Obama's potential Republican opponents: Mitt Romney had six registered lobbyists bundle money for him during the second quarter of the year. These individuals raised $517,450 for Romney's campaign, as OpenSecrets Blog previously reported. Wall Street money will also likely play a significant role in Romney's campaign, or that of most any Republican who seeks to challenge Obama. The financial sector is traditionally a deep pool of money for politicians on both side of the aisle who seek it. During the 2008 election cycle alone, Republican and Democratic politicians raised a combined $500 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sector, the Center's research shows. Since he began running for president in 2007, Obama has pledged to not accept money from registered, federal lobbyists. But that hasn't stopped him from taking money from former lobbyists -- or having former lobbyists serve as top fundraisers for him. Seven of his bundlers this year are former lobbyists, who, collectively, have raised a minimum of $1.35 million for Obama and the DNC. These seven individuals are:
Michael Kempner, of MWW Group, who has raised at least $500,000 Tim Broas, of Winston & Strawn, who has raised between $200,000 and $500,000 Michael Cioffi, of Blank Rome LLP, who has raised between $200,000 and $500,000 Tom Wheeler, of Core Capital Partners, who has raised between $200,000 and $500,000
Scott Harris, of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, who has raised between $100,000 and $200,000 Mel Levine, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who has raised between $100,000 and $200,000 Frank Clark of Exelon Corp., who raised between $50,000 and $100,000
Kempner, Broas, Wheeler, Harris and Clark all bundled money for Obama four years ago, while Cioffi and Levine are new bundlers for Obama. No Republican presidential candidate has made such a pledge to forgo money from lobbyists. Here is a table of the other top industries of Obama's bundlers, including how much money these individuals have raised and how many individual bundlers are responsible for the sums:
At the same time, Obama is enjoying vigorous support from small-dollar donors. During the second quarter of 2011, about 47 percent of his campaign's fund-raising haul came from individuals who gave $200 or less -- the threshold for itemized reporting by the Federal Election Commission -- as OpenSecrets Blog previously reported. Obama appears to be attracting a healthy amount of new supporters -- both of the well-connected and small-dollar variety So far, more than 200,000 individuals who did not donate to Obama in 2008 have donated to his re-election efforts, according to the Obama campaign. Meanwhile, nearly 60 percent of the 244 individual bundlers for his re-election efforts did not bundle for his campaign four years ago, by the Center's tally. New bundlers for Obama and returning bundlers each collectively raised a minimum of $17.5 million during the second quarter, according to the Center's research. Some of this new money may also be coming because of ideological reasons, particularly Obama's usually supportive positions on gay rights issues. A dozen bundlers who are openly gay or lesbian raised a minimum of $2.35 million for Obama and the DNC during the second quarter. At least $2.2 million was raised by the 10 bundlers who are new to the Obama reelection cause. These 12 bundlers who've been active in gay rights causes are:
Myers, of Evercore Partners, who has bundled at least $500,000 Eugene Sepulveda, of Austin, Texas, who bundled at least $500,000
Andrew Tobias, a writer and treasurer of the DNC, who bundled at least $500,000 Dana Perlman and Barry Karas, of Los Angeles, who bundled at least $200,000 Wally Brewster and Bob Satawake, of Chicago, who bundled at least $100,000 Terry Bean, of Portland, Ore., who bundled at least $100,000 Kathy Levinson, former president and CEO of E-trade, who bundled at least $100,000 Laura Ricketts, of Ecotravel LLC in Chicago, who bundled at least $100,000 Jeff Soref, of New York, who bundled at least $100,000 Fred Eychaner, of Chicago, who bundled at least $50,000 Paul Horning, of Atlanta, who bundled at least $50,000 Kevin Jennings, the former Department of Education official, who bundled at least 50,000
Only Bean and Jennings previously bundled money for Obama's 2008 presidential bid. Federal law does not compel candidates to disclose information about their bundlers unless the bundler is also a lobbyist. Campaigns, therefore, can chose to release or omit as much information as they chose about their bundlers. Beyond each bundler's name, city and state, the Obama campaign did not include any other identifying information about its bundlers. The employer information discussed in this report for Obama's bundlers is based on research by the Center's staff.