Corporate Presidential Campaign Donations Surge

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Corporate America is pouring money into the U.S. presidential campaign at an unprecedented rate, with a torrent of donations coming from the businesses behind the subprime mortgage crisis.

Facing a government crackdown over predatory lending and a troubled housing finance system, Wall Street and the real estate industry were among the top political givers in 2007, a campaign finance watchdog group said on Sunday.

Leading all corporate donors in campaign donations as of the end of last year was investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, based on an analysis of Federal Election Commission records, the Center for Responsive Politics said.

The next four largest corporate donors were Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, according to the center’s fourth-quarter preliminary analysis, which is subject to revision.

Investment banks, commercial banks and real estate companies altogether have pumped almost $34 million into the presidential race, with Democratic leaders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama getting the most money, the center said.

Overall, the 2008 presidential contest is shaping up, as expected, to be by far the costliest in U.S. history.

“From the beginning we’ve known this will be the most expensive race ever … Already the whole field has raised $582.5 million,” said Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the nonprofit, nonpartisan center.

Senators Clinton and Obama have each taken in more than $5 million from securities and investment firms; Republican Mitt Romney, over $4 million, and rival John McCain, $2 million.   more

3 Responses

  1. Good. Corporations should have a voice in the political process. They pay taxes, provide jobs, produce goods and services, and generate returns for their investors. It is only right that business owners and leaders promote their interests.

    I disagree strongly with the author’s characterization of the financial services sector. Business and banking are not responsible for bursting of the housing market bubble. Certainly they made mistakes, but they only deserve a small portion of the blame. The real culprit is the millions of Americans who live beyond their means and then try to welch when the bill comes. They bought homes they couldn’t afford, took out second mortgages or home equity lines of credit, and now they don’t want to pay it back. Rather than “predatory lenders” why don’t you place some of the blame on the parasitic borrowers.

  2. Yeah, that’s the right idea. Let’s prey on the poor, uneducated and vulnerable members of society. We’ll then go further by profiting and devising schemes to exploit these American citizens. We’ll paint them a beautiful picture of the American dream, award them financing and loans that they should not receive and then when times get tough force foreclosure on the “fools” who dared to fall for the deception.

    Loan agents often work on commissions and I guarantee you that one hot shot trying to make a buck isn’t nearly as concerned with who he’s making a buck off of as much as earning some cash on the deal.

    Parasitic borrowers is a crock because that implies that somehow they are exploiting or cheating a system that favors them. When in fact, we all know that it’s corporations that receive the favorable tax rates, the “bail outs” and the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their intentions. I don’t think all corporations are evil, but forcing the issue of corporate responsibility doesn’t hurt anyone.

    I’d go on, but given the tone of Lyn’s post, I’m guessing that this is an issue she’d never bend on. It all comes down to greed, how you cannot see this glaringly obvious problem with the mortgage crisis is beyond me. For the record, this never happened under Clinton’s watch, care to guess why this was the case? Just one guess as to why Clinton helped create more first-time home owners than any of the presidents that preceded him. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t ignoring the people that are common prey of greedy corps, that’s for sure.

  3. It would seem with campaign financing, corporate-backed media censorship, and big corporation wrong-doing cover ups, that we are a nation of presidential administration and corporations instead of a nation for the people, by the people. Lyn, your website appears to be opinion based on intestinal moods rather than verifiable facts.

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