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Wall Street Goes All-in on Mitt Romney
Let there be no doubt where Wall Street's political loyalties lie: Of all the money the securities and investment industry has poured into the 2012 presidential contest so far -- to the candidates and the super PACs behind them -- an unambiguous 92 percent has gone to the GOP, according to a new Center for Responsive Politics analysis.
And in so doing, the securities and investment industry is betting hard on the candidacy of one of its own: Mitt Romney.
Between his campaign committee and a monster super PAC supporting his candidacy, Romney has benefited from about 72% percent of the near $33 million Wall Street has contributed through February.
The former Bain executive has received $7.3 million from industry-affiliated individuals and political action committees. That means securities and investment accounts for about 10 percent of the more than $74.8 million Romney has raised.
The sheer amount of cash Wall Street has sent Romney represents an extremely lopsided giving pattern. No other presidential candidate, including President Barack Obama, comes close to tapping the motherlode of industry riches.
The industry's abandonment of Obama could hardly be more dramatic: Wall Street's preferred candidate in the 2008 race with more than $6 million in industry campaign contributions at this point in the cycle, he has received less than $2.6 million from the industry so far this time around.
None of the current Republican presidential contenders are anywhere near Romney's orbit, the Center's research shows. Neither Rick Santorum, who may be Romney's last remaining obstacle to securing the GOP nomination, nor Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul even break the mid-six figure mark in Wall Street contributions. Gingrich comes in at about $214,400 in people and PAC contributions from the industry as of the end of February, while Santorum has taken in about $111,500.
In the 2008 race, Romney took in just over $2 million in Wall Street money before he dropped out of the race that February.
But hard money campaign contributions tell only part of the story.
Wall Street seems to have found an even more welcoming receptacle for its largesse in Restore Our Future, a super PAC founded by a manager of Romney's 2008 presidential campaign, which is spending millions in an auxiliary effort to propel Romney to the Republican presidential nomination and eventually into the White House.
Wealthy executives and corporations in securities and investment have contributed about $16.5 million to Restore Our Future -- more than twice the amount they have sent to his campaign. Such donors are taking advantage of a new political landscape that was reshaped by recent federal court decisions, such as the 2010 Supreme Court-decided Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which allows more money from more sources to fund hard-hitting political advertisements.
Since its inception, Restore our Future has taken in more than $36.6 million in such contributions, with about 45 percent coming from securities and investment.
Employees at Bain Capital alone have contributed $2 million, according to the Center's research. They help make Bain, the investment firm that Romney co-founded back in the 1980s, one of Restore Our Future's top donors, along with other Wall Street firms, such as Clarium Capital Management, Goldman Sachs and Tiger Management.
Industry cash drawn directly from corporate coffers has also given Restore Our Future a boost. MBF Investments, a private equity firm dealing in healthcare, donated $500,000, while W/F Investment Corp. contributed $275,000.