Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush Still Favorites of Wall Street Banks

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This post first appeared at The Huffington Post.

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush speaks at the World Affairs Council in 2012. (World Affairs Council/Flickr CC. 2.0)

Executives and employees of the biggest bank institutions in the country have continued to put their money behind two candidates in the 2016 presidential race: Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Jeb Bush.

From April through September, Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, raised $636,065 from employees (and their spouses) of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclay’s, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Wells Fargo. Bush, the former Republican presidential frontrunner, pulled in $606,453.

After starting his campaign on June 15, Bush has nearly caught up to Clinton’s total fundraising from big bank executives. From July through September, Bush raised $253,503 to Clinton’s $203,456 from these donors.

Campaign Contributions From Big Bank Executives & Employees

Campaign Contributions From Big Bank Executives & Employees (Data from FEC)
Source: Federal Election Commission.

Of these totals, Clinton has received $132,124 from Morgan Stanley executives and employees, $95,709 from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and $94,602 from those at JPMorgan Chase. Bush’s total includes $189,800 from executives and employees at Goldman Sachs and $90,960 from those at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Contributions came in the third quarter of 2015 just before the candidates began to roll out their policy proposals for the financial sector. The policies offered by the two favorites of Wall Street donors couldn’t be more different.

Clinton released her financial sector policy agenda on Oct. 8. The policies included closing loopholes in the post-financial meltdown Dodd-Frank reform law and an increase in enforcement action targeting both the banking and alternative investment industries.

Her plan would increase penalties for fraud and require the executives in charge of the banking institutions — the people making campaign contributions — to personally pay settlements, rather than using corporate treasury funds. She would reverse loopholes poked by bank lobbyists in the Dodd-Frank law since it was enacted in 2010.

Clinton also supports Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Truth in Settlements Act to show the true cost — or lack thereof — to the bottom line of financial institutions when they pay settlements. Every bank whose executives are donating to presidential candidates has entered into settlements worth tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars to end government investigations to illegal practices since the 2008 global financial meltdown.

The Democratic presidential candidate further endorsed legislation proposed by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to slow the movement of Washington political appointees to high-paying Wall Street bank jobs and vice versa.

The policies put forward by Clinton do stop short of those proposed by her primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to break up the banks and restructure them.

Bush, on the other hand, has criticized the Dodd-Frank reforms as overburdening regulations that put more risk into the banking system. His campaign has not released a comprehensive plan on how a Bush administration would regulate or oversee Wall Street.

“We have more banks with more concentrated assets in the United States, and the systematic risk is perhaps greater now than it was when the law was signed,” Bush said prior to announcing his presidential campaign.

The former Florida governor further stated that “bad banks” should face regulations. The definition of “bad banks,” however, may include all of the big banks since they have all admitted to have broken laws and paid multimillion-dollar settlements to end investigations in the past seven years.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) is the only other 2016 candidate to have raised more than $100,000 from the big banks. His campaign received $146,619 from executives and employees of the 10 big banks. Half of these funds came from executives and employees at Goldman Sachs.

Where Did Clinton, Bush, Rubio Get Their Bank Contributions From?

Where Did Clinton, Bush, Rubio Get Their Bank Contributions From? Source FEC

Source: Federal Elections Commission.

Both Clinton and Bush were aided in raising their campaign cash from big bank executives by a number of fundraisers working for those banks, also known as bundlers.

Bundlers who raised more than $100,000 for Clinton’s campaign include Morgan Stanley’s Tom Nides, a former assistant secretary of state under Clinton; JPMorgan Chase’s Karen Keogh, Clinton’s former New York City director when she served as senator from New York; and JPMorgan Chase’s Eric Gioia, a former New York City council member.

Bush’s bundlers raising more than $17,600 include Barclay’s executives Robert Foresman, Stephen Lessing, Willam Cohen, Nicholas Howard, Keith Overlander, Martin Shafiroff and Larry Wieseneck; Goldman Sachs executives James Herring, James Donovan and Dina Powell; Credit Suisse’s Timothy O’Hara; and Morgan Stanley’s John Sargent.

Paul Blumenthal is a reporter at The Huffington Post covering campaign finance and money in politics. His work has appeared on PBS’ Frontline, MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times and been included in Principles and Practice of American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 5th Edition and in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report: Climate Change. He previously worked as the senior writer for The Sunlight Foundation.
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