Obama and Wall Street: follow the money

Christopher Dilts/Obama for America

President Obama speaks in New York at a Obama for American campaign dinner, Sep. 20, 2011.

Article Highlights

  • #Obama has raised more from #WallStreet than the #GOP candidates all together - for both his campaign and the #DNC

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  • Obama's vocally denounces millionaires, Wall Streeters, etc., yet he signed Dodd-Frank, which granted large banks "too-big-to-fail" status

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  • Financiers don't agree with Obama's policies, yet donate anyway to protect the interests of their companies @MichaelBarone

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Earlier this week many in the new media focused on a report that Mitt Romney's campaign had outraised Barack Obama's campaign on Wall Street--that is, among those in the financial services industry. It was a profoundly misleading report, as our friends at the Washington Post revealed in a story this morning.

When you count contributions not only to the Obama campaign but also to the Democratic National Committee--and the Obama folks have been systematically raising money for both--and you focus not just on the last reporting quarter but on the full campaign cycle so far, you find that Obama has raised more from the financial services industry than all the Republican presidential candidates put together.

"...Obama's campaign posture as the scourge of Wall Street is in important ways deeply fraudulent..." -- Michael Barone

Indeed, it turns out, as the Examiner's Charlie Spiering reports, that Obama has raised more from Romney's old firm, Bain Capital, than Romney has. Moreover, the Obama contributions came from just a few individuals. Ask yourself a question: is an officeholder going to feel more beholden to a few individuals each of whom contributes a large sum of money than to a much larger number of individuals who each contribute relatively modest sums?

Obama's generous support from the financial services folks is obviously in tension with his frequent recent campaign trail denunciations of millionaires, Wall Streeters and people who fly in corporate jets. Further investigation reveals how bogus that campaign rhetoric is. The Dodd-Frank legislation which Obama happily signed effectively grants too-big-to-fail status to the largest banks, which allows them to raise money more cheaply than their smaller competitors and tends to ratchet up the value of their stock.

People in financial services don't like Obama's rhetoric and some of his policies--JPMorgan Chase's talented CEO Jamie Dimon seems to have gone off the Obama reservation because of this, and there are surely many others--but they are also willing to fund the Obama campaign, whether because they (or their significant others) like Democrats' liberal stands on cultural issues or because they feel it necessary to pay protection money to an outfit not unwilling to engage in gangster government. In any case, Obama's campaign posture as the scourge of Wall Street is in important ways deeply fraudulent, as you can see when you follow the money.

Michael Barone is a resident fellow at AEI.

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About the Author


  • Michael Barone, a political analyst and journalist, studies politics, American government, and campaigns and elections. The principal coauthor of the annual Almanac of American Politics (National Journal Group), he has written many books on American politics and history. Barone is also a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner.

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