With Wall Street profits and bonuses falling and big banks cutting jobs right and left, it seems that the financial services sector would be scaling back its free-spending ways.
But, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis, they likely to set records in 2012 on political spending — the bulk of which is aimed at defeating President Barack Obama and electing Republicans opposed to the Dodd-Frank financial regulations enacted to address the sector’s 2008 meltdown.
It seems Wall Street has had its feelings hurt by the Obama administration’s increasingly vocal support for policies that benefit the other 99 percent, and as a result, the financial industry is giving heavily to Republicans and, in particular, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R). Politico reports:
Despite a large overall fundraising advantage, Obama has raised just $5.1 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors so far this cycle compared with $12.4 million for Mitt Romney’s campaign, according to Sheila Krumholz, executive director of [the Center for Responsive Politics]. [...]
Securities and investment firms are the top industry donors to the Republican Party so far this cycle, having given $12.4 million. The industry has given $10.3 million to the Democratic Party, second to $12.7 million from lawyers and law firms.
The gap for Romney, a former private-equity executive and founder of Bain Capital, is even larger when his super PAC — Restore our Future — is included. Restore our Future, which can raise unlimited sums from individuals and organizations, had hauled in $30.1 million by the end of last year.
Wall Street has made no secret of its desire for Republican candidate who will return to the unregulated anything-goes policies of the Bush years. The banks spent millions lobbying against passage and implementation of Dodd-Frank and helped Republicans oppose the nomination of a director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It’s comes as little surprise then that Romney, who announced his opposition to Dodd-Frank early in his campaign, has emerged as Wall Street’s favorite candidate.