Wall Street Opens Wallet for GOP Senatorial Candidates

This past spring, about two dozen bankers and hedge fund managers gathered at a New York City hotel to meet with a pair of Republican senators, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Texas' John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

According to media reports, the two powerful GOP leaders had come to let Wall Street know its help would be needed to win back control of the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections.

Apparently, Wall Street got the message.

An ABCNews.com/Center for Responsive Politics analysis of financial industry contributions to senatorial campaign fundraising arms and to candidates in a dozen key races revealed a distinct fiscal alliance between Wall Street and the Republicans.

During the first six months of the year, bankers, brokers and money managers -- individually and by way of Political Action Committees -- have contributed twice as much to GOP Senate candidates than to Democratic ones.

"This is an extension of a larger corporate trend that has become quite dramatic in the past few months," said Doug Weber, a senior researcher at the CRP.

So far this year, through June 30, roughly $7 million in campaign contributions have travelled from the pockets of financial industry members into the NRSC, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and to the candidates in pivotal Senate races in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania. More than two-thirds of that cash went to Republicans.

Among the 10 individual Senatorial candidates who got the most cash from Wall Street, seven were Republicans.

The top 10 recipients of financial industry donations were: Illinois Republican Mark Kirk ($535,280); Ohio Republican Rob Portman ($394,096); Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey ($319,459); California Republican Tom Campbell ($314,900); Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. ($254,970); California Republican Carly Fiorina ($254,451); Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. ($252,781); Missouri Republican Roy Blunt ($229,912); Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. ($181,350) and Indiana Republican Daniel Coats ($174,651).

Only three other candidates, each of them Republican, broke the $100K mark in Wall Street contributions. They were Michael Castle of Delaware, Trey Grayson of Kentucky and John Hoeven of North Dakota.

Of the above candidates, only three, Bennet, Lincoln and Reid, all Democrats, are incumbents. Several of the races, including Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, are for seats being vacated.

After Financial Reform, Wall Street Embraces Republicans

Reuters reported last month that top bank executives were said to be turning against Democrats by shifting campaign contributions to Republicans following financial reform legislation viewed as heavy handed and anti-Wall Street.

The news agency quoted one securities industry executive involved in campaign donation decisions as saying: "If you're going to haul me out of the bar and beat me up in the street, don't expect me to buy you a drink."

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