Goldman Sachs has long supported Democrats in the presidential contest. Goldman employees gave generously to then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008. But not this time. Goldman, along with the majority of people who work at big Wall Street banks, are backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney instead.
One big reason? Dodd-Frank. Banks initially opposed the federal government’s 2010 regulation of the financial sector.
Perhaps even more significant, however, was the sense that Goldman and other highly influential institutions suddenly seemed a little less influential in Washington. Accustomed to members of Congressional Financial Services committees coming in for office visits, and frequent telephone communication, under Obama’s White House, communciation has been chillier, and less frequent.
Liz Rappaport covers the financial industry and Goldman for the Wall Street Journal and wrote about the shift this morning.
“In the wake of financial crisis, suddenly Goldman people were kind of shunned and treated with less of that shiny golden stature,” Rappaport said.
And their frustration wasn’t just a lack of access to lawmakers on specific policies. It was personal.
“They’re dumping Obama, but I think they felt dumped by Obama,” Rappaport said.
To the tune of close to a million dollars. Goldman employees gave over $1 million in donations in 2008. This election cycle, personal contributions dropped to just $136,000. Compare that with generous donations to Romney: $900,00 to his campaign and another $900,000 for the Super PAC that supports him.
Another factor, Romney is no stranger to the investment bank.
“A lot of Goldman bankers know Romney from doing business with Bain, the private equity firm that he ran,” said Rappaport. “I loved Obama, but now I’m going for the guy who’s just like me.”
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