RPT-Wall Street still gives big cash to Obama
WASHINGTON, July 22 |
WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - Despite howls of protests from many on Wall Street over some of President Barack Obama's policies, financial sector employees are giving at a greater rate to his re-election bid than during his last campaign.
One-third of the funds hauled in by Obama's big-money backers came from executives and others linked to the financial world, according to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics released on Friday.
The financial sector accounted for about 20 percent of what Obama's top fundraisers raised during his 2008 bid.
Several high-profile bank and hedge funds executives have complained publicly about Democratic policies, including the financial sector overhaul and health care revamp. Still, an incumbent is hard to beat and Wall Street likes to hedge its bets.
"Everyone likes a winner, Obama is the incumbent president and they are hard to oust," said Michael Beckel, a researcher at the center. "It is natural that they want to stay in his good graces even if some of them are upset" about certain policies.
Obama reported raising $86 million in the quarter ending June 30, which includes nearly $40 million raised for him by the Democratic National Committee.
Although Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney has not named most of his so-called bundlers -- well connected individuals committed to raising big cash -- the former private equity executive has traditionally lured major backing from the financial sector.
Executives and others linked to Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and the Bank of America (BAC.N) have been big Romney backers. Romney raised total $18.4 million in the second quarter.
"From 30,000 feet, Wall Street is where a lot of candidates turn for money," Beckel said.
Among the big names aggregating funds for Obama are Orin Kramer of Boston Provident and Blair Effron of Centerview Partners.
Romney is at a disadvantage in that Obama can raise money through the national committee, which can accept donations of up to nearly $31,000. Individuals can only give up to $2,500 to personal campaigns.
The former Massachusetts governor did release the names of the lobbyists who had bundled funds, as required by law. Those include an executive at the bank Barclays (BARC.L).
Romney's campaign also relied a lot more on large donations than Obama did in the second quarter.
(Reporting by Kim Dixon; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
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