Goldman Sachs Employees Abandon Obama Campaign Finance Ship

Wall Street less than happy with the president.

October 12, 2012, 8:23 AM

Oct. 12, 2012 — -- Goldman Sachs employees may not be so happy with President Obama and his tough rhetoric about Wall Street, at least according to the latest campaign finance figures.

Goldman Sachs was the U.S. company that donated the most to then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 election, giving more than $1 million to support his bid for the presidency.

But during this election cycle, they have given him just $136,000. Former Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign got $900,000 plus $900,000 to a super PAC that supports him from Goldman employees.

Goldman Sachs did not immediately return a request for comment, but a spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that donations "are made by individual employees according to their own views."

The law prohibits companies from making corporate donations to political candidates and Goldman Sachs has a rule against donating corporate funds to super PACs, the Journal reported.

Sheila Krumholz, executive director of Center for Responsive Politics, which provided these figures from the Federal Election Commission and PAC data, called the apparent shift in loyalty a "big surprise."

"It's striking and it's hard not to read into the principal change between them," she said. "I think especially many on Wall Street took umbrage at the public shaming they thought was taking place during the debate about financial reform."

While much of the public thought the finance sector wasn't criticized enough, Krumholz said, "Certainly a lot of the blame was placed at the feet of Wall Street and on lax regulation and oversight by the government."

For those who gave significant amounts of money to President Obama when he first ran for election, such as the Goldman Sachs employees, Krumholz said, "They felt the support that they presented as good faith in public service was not appreciated."

Of the securities and investment firms that the Center for Responsive Politics tracks, a number of hedge funds and private equity firms have given larger amounts, many giving to Romney, who spent much of his career with private equity firm Bain Capital.

Still, the vast majority of money is coming from individuals and not corporations.

The top five contributors to all candidates in any party at all levels for 2011-2012 from the securities and investment sector are:

1. Goldman Sachs: $6,628,8082. Renaissance Technologies: $5,803,1503. Bain Capital: $4,835,1014. Clarium Capital Management: $3,787,2005. JW Childs Assoc: $3,301,700

The top five contributors for the 2008 cycle from the securities and investment sector were:

1. Goldman Sachs: $6,037,4942. Morgan Stanley: $3,856,1213. UBS AG: $3,174,1464. Merrill Lynch: $3,025,4095. Credit Suisse Group: $2,399,649

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