Congress Has 43,457,362 Reasons to Help Goldman Sachs

Embattled firm and employees spent millions in donations and lobbying expenses.

ByABC News
September 26, 2008, 8:26 AM

September 26, 2008— -- Not all their money has gone for mansions and Ferraris.

The embattled Goldman Sachs investment banking firm and its employees have spent more than $43 million dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions to cultivate friends and buy influence in Washington, D.C. since 1989, according to an ABC News analysis of campaign finance records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

As a group, Goldman Sachs bankers have been the country's top political campaign contributors this year and have given $29.5 million in contributions since 1989, according to the Center.

"They are almost in a class by themselves," said Sheila Krumholz, the executive director for the Center for Responsive Politics.

"Their top executives are in a class that is way above the clout and name-dropping that most other American businesses can achieve," says Krumholz.

The firm has been badly shaken by the financial crisis, with management seeking emergency infusions of cash. The bailout legislation, proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, reportedly led financier Warren Buffett to put $5 billion into Goldman Sachs because he felt the government would act to solve the financial crisis.

In a statement, Buffet expressed confidence in Goldman Sachs. "It has an unrivaled global franchise," he said, "a proven and deep management team and the intellectual and financial capital to continue its track record of outperformance."

Though he did tell the Wall Street Journal that if the government fails to act that his investment in Goldman would "get killed, and so will all our other investments."

Before becoming Treasury Secretary, Paulson was chairman of Goldman Sachs, earning over $140 million in compensation during his seven years as the firm's top officer, according to company filings. Upon taking office, Paulson divested himself of his 3.23 million Goldman shares, reportedly worth $485 million at the time, to comply with government ethics rules.