Prez campaign donor explosion mostly from securities,investments industry: NYT

October 21st, 2008 - 3:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Lehman Brothers

New York, Oct.21 (ANI): A New York Times analysis of donors who have handed over cheques of 25,000 dollars or more to the fund-raising committees of the Obama and McCain campaigns, has found that most of it came from the securities and investments industry.
According to the paper, the contributions have come from various firms embroiled in the recent financial crisis like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG, and it adds that the joint fund-raising committees have been utilized far more heavily in this presidential election than in the past.
The NYT report says that Obamas campaign has leaned on wealthy benefactors to contribute up to 33,100 dollars at a time to complement his army of small donors over the Internet as he bypassed public financing for the general election.
Over 600 donors contributed 25,000 dollars or more to him in September alone, roughly three times the number who did the same for Republican rival John McCain.
The McCain campaign, on the other hand,has encouraged deep-pocketed supporters to write cheques of over 70,000 dollars, by adding state parties as beneficiaries of his fund-raising.
All told, each candidate has had about 2,000 people giving 25,000 dollars or more to his various joint fund-raising committees through September.
The paper quoted Anthony J. Corrado Jr., a campaign finance expert at Colby College in Maine, as saying: What were seeing is an emphasis on the high-end cheque that we have not seen since the days of soft money.
Compared with Obama, McCain drew a slightly larger percentage of his big-donor money from the financial industry, about a fifth of his total. The next biggest amount in large cheques for McCain came from real estate and then donors who identified themselves as retired. With his emphasis on offshore drilling. McCain has also enjoyed heavy support from generous benefactors in the oil and gas industry, a group Obama drew relatively little from.
Obama drew the most of his funding from retirees and lawyers. He also drew a significant amount from the entertainment industry. Donations from the private equity and hedge fund industries accounted for a significantly greater amount of the giving from McCains largest donors, compared with Obamas.
Merrill Lynch, for example, wrote three cheques of 28,500 dollars each to McCain. A dozen employees at Goldman Sachs wrote cheques of 25,000 dollars or more to Obama.
Donations to these joint fund-raising committees have surged this election cycle, taking in nearly 300 million dollars this year through September with McCain collecting slightly more than Obama.
Campaign finance watchdogs call it a worrisome trend, saying the heavy emphasis on such arrangements brings candidates one step further into the embrace of major donors.
Individuals are normally limited to contributing 2,300 dollars to presidential candidates for the primary and another 2,300 dollars for the general election.
But joint fund-raising committees allow donors to enjoy the clout that comes with writing a single large cheque that can cover the maximum contributions to the candidates, as well as 28,500 dollars to the national party.
More than 1,800 people have donated 25,000 dollars or more as of the end of September to McCain through his various victory committees, according to Federal Election Commission filings and data compiled by Public Citizen, a nonpartisan watchdog group. More than 300 people had contributed 50,000 dollars or more.
In Obama’’s case, about 2,000 people have donated 25,000 dollars or more to his joint fund-raising committees through September, and more than 500 have given 30,000 dollars or more.
The largest donors typically get V.I.P. treatment at fund-raisers, including dinner and a photo with the candidate. (ANI)

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