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You'd need a pretty big stage to accommodate all the candidates for President, so it's no surprise that the fiercely competitive primary battle is attracting more money that ever before and the traditional big money players are giving big. One industry in particular is upping their ante for this cycle: securities and investment. Why, oh why, would that be?

The Wall Street Journal checks the numbers compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which show a big jump since the last Presidential race in contributions from hedge funds, private equity firms, and the like. In 2004, the sector ranked 5th overall in total giving pouring in just over $97 million in individual and PAC donations, 52% of which went to Republicans. Now the number 3 sector, they've given nearly $50 million and there's still a year to go.

Now, 61% of their money is going to Democrats -- quite a remarkable ideological shift for an entire sector to make, no?

Oh, no -- it's just business as usual.


The biggest donors in the securities and investment sector, as of October 29, were the brokerage firms Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse.

Also among the sector's top contributors were hedge funds and private equity firms Bain Capital, SAC Capital Advisers, Fortress Investment Group and Blackstone Group.

"There's no question that hedge funds and private equity firms have ramped up their political giving in the last couple of years as Congress looks seriously at raising their taxes," said Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics.

Lawmakers are considering proposals to more than double the tax rate on the "carried interest" gains of senior partners at private equity firms that buy and sell businesses.