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Wall Street putting its campaign cash on the Dems

March 21, 2008 |  8:11 am

Now, if presidential politics was like a game of roulette -- and who's to say it isn't? -- you could argue that the Wall Street gamblers are putting their chips on blue after a few cycles of red.

For a story in today's print edition, our colleagues Janet Hook and Dan Morain took a long look at the Center for Responsive Politics' analysis of presidential campaign finance forms and found that Wall Street is giving more this cycle to Hillary Clinton ($6.29 million) and Barack Obama ($6.03 million) than it is to John McCain ($2.59 million). Overall, 60% of the sector's $71.5 million in federal contributions have gone to Democrats this cycle, where four years ago 52% went to Republicans.

Of course, that already has some on the left nervous that the more things change, the more they could stay the same. McCain has famously argued against the pernicious influence of money in politics, and Obama has made rejecting PAC money a part of his campaign. Clinton, too, has railed against the influence of special interests in politics.

But that the campaigns are getting that much cash from the Brooks Brothers set has some progressives worried, particularly given the likely pressure for bailouts of financial firms caught up in the credit crunch. "I want to hear Clinton, Obama and McCain talk about a quid pro quo," Jared Bernstein, an economist with the Democratic-leaning Economic Policy Institute, told Hook and Morain. "If we don't hear it, especially from Democrats, it makes sense to ask why not and ask if they are inappropriately cozy with the financial services industry."

-- Scott Martelle

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