The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick delivers the shocking and troubling news that Wall Street bankers are so disappointed in Barack Obama that they've started giving money to Republicans. Bankers! To Republicans!
Apparently Wall Street has long been a bastion of support for Democratic political candidates, but now that Obama has launched a campaign — unprecedented for a Democrat — to enact policies that may cut into corporate profits, some bankers are holding their noses and cutting checks to Republicans:
But this year Chase's political action committee is sending the Democrats a pointed message. While it has contributed to some individual Democrats and state organizations, it has rebuffed solicitations from the national Democratic House and Senate campaign committees. Instead, it gave $30,000 to their Republican counterparts.
The shift reflects the hard political edge to the industry's campaign to thwart Mr. Obama's proposals for tighter financial regulations.
Here's a chart illustrating that "shift" in giving, from the Center for Responsive Politics. It shows political giving from political action committees and individuals associated with commercial banking, going back to 1990. In every year since 1994, Republicans got more money than Democrats.
To make his case, Kirkpatrick cites CRP figures showing that individuals and PACs from the securities and investment business gave $89 million to Democrats in 2008, a 57% to 43% edge over Republicans. That's true. It's also true that, according to the CRP, the securities and investment sector favored Republicans over Democrats in the 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000, 1998, and 1996 election cycles. It's also true that, overall, the wider finance, insurance, and real estate industry has favored Republicans 55% to 45% since 1990. This is because people who care about money want Republicans to win elections, and always have.
But what about Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase and Obama's Chicago pal? Kirkpatrick makes much of the fact that JPMorgan Chase's PAC has "rebuffed solicitations from the national Democratic House and Senate campaign committees" and given "$30,000 to their Republican counterparts."
He calls this a "shift." JPMorgan Chase has two PACs. One of them, it is true, gave 58% of its $130,427 in disbursements in 2008 to Democrats. But the other one, which handed out $797,977 in 2008, gave 53% of it to Republicans. In fact, both PACs have favored Republicans in all but two of the last six election cycles—one being the aforementioned 2008 cycle, and the other being 2002, when one of the PACs split its money 50-50. So Chase's shift to the GOP is more of a return to the way it's always behaved and should always be expected to behave, since "Wealthy Bankers Give Money to Republicans" is sort of axiomatic.