Presidential Financial Contributions: Romney vs. Obama

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  • #1
Pythagorean
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Barack Obama (D)
1 University of California $491,868
2 Microsoft Corp $443,748
3 Google Inc $357,382
4 DLA Piper $331,715
5 Harvard University $317,516

Individual contributions $347,909,254
PAC contributions $0

Mitt Romney (R)
1 Goldman Sachs $676,080
2 JPMorgan Chase & Co $520,299
3 Morgan Stanley $513,647
4 Bank of America $510,728
5 Credit Suisse Group $427,560

Individual contributions $192,355,237
PAC contributions $838,481

NOTE: The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organizations' PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
from opensecrets.org:
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/index.php

edit: to be in compliance with PWA, I'm supposed to say something. Mostly, I just think its important that we know what kind of people are supporting which candidates, because they likely see the candidate as contributing to their company's philosophies in their policies.

An interesting point is that ontheissues puts Obama at strongly supporting topic 16 (stricter laws on campaign financing) and he has no PAC. Romney is almost half PAC and opposes topic 16 overall (though he wanted to abolish PACs in 1994).
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pythagorean
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  • #3
skippy1729
An interesting point is that ontheissues puts Obama at strongly supporting topic 16 (stricter laws on campaign financing) and he has no PAC.
What about Priorities USA Action?
 
  • #4
skippy1729
From the OP's reference site:

Barack Obama (D):

Goldman Sachs $513,943
Morgan Stanley $ 90,123
MF Global $897,232

Also some interesting pie charts there. Largest sector of Obama money is from Lawyers and Lobbyists at $34,850,000.

So, what is the point of the exercise. Cherry picking?
 
  • #5
Pythagorean
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There's no need to be hostile, the point of the exercise is to inform voters before the election. We have to be careful and declare our interpretations. I am willing to listen to any evidence you present. I trust Romney and the banks the least, so I may inherently see something a certain way, but I'm willing to listen to reason. For the record, I see Obama as the lesser evil and I don't think my vote counts for much anyway in my state.

What about Priorities USA Action?
I've ever heard of it. Why don't you tell me about it? It looks like Romney smear, but I've only just googled it. Is it linked to Obama? What's the difference between them and a PAC?

Goldman Sachs $513,943
Morgan Stanley $ 90,123
MF Global $897,232
I'm not able to find that information. In the list I see:
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/contrib.php?cycle=2012&id=N00009638
would you provide the link?

Also some interesting pie charts there. Largest sector of Obama money is from Lawyers and Lobbyists at $34,850,000.
Do you have any specifics? is that connected to this chart?

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/index.php
 
  • #6
skippy1729
  • #7
skippy1729
The WH links to Priorities USA Action are discussed here (and many other places):

http://nation.foxnews.com/debbie-wasserman-shultz/2012/08/12/dnc-chair-makes-mind-numbing-claim-fox

Obama Spokesman Ben LaBolt: “Campaign And White House Officials Have Participated In And Will Continue To Participate In” Super PAC Events. “And the Obama campaign made clear that it still fully supports the political action committee. ‘We have been crystal clear in expressing our support for Priorities USA Action and its mission: re-electing the President,’ campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said. ‘Campaign and White House officials have participated in and will continue to participate in their events across the country.’” (Steven T. Dennis, “Cabinet Members A Super PAC No-Show,” Roll Call, 7/10/12)
At Least Four Of Obama’s Cabinet Members Answered His Call To “Help Fill The Coffers” Of Super PACs. “At least four Cabinet members appear ready and willing to answer President Barack Obama’s call to help fill the coffers of Democratic outside spending groups, which have to date been badly outgunned by better-funded Republican organizations.” (Michael Beckel, “Fundraising Activities Are Limited, But Star Power Brings In The Bucks,” iWatch News, 2/13/12)

Interior Secretary Salazar, Energy Secretary Chu, Education Secretary Duncan And U.S. Trade Rep. Kirk Will Attend Fundraising Events For Democratic Super PACs.“Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk have all indicated they would be open to participation in activities designed to help the nascent Democratic super PACs, like ‘Priorities USA Action,’ raise money.” (Michael Beckel, “Fundraising Activities Are Limited, But Star Power Brings In The Bucks,” iWatch News, 2/13/12)

“Officials Tapped To Participate Include Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe And Mr. Messina, A Campaign Official Said.” (Laura Meckler, “In A Shift, Obama Campaign Moves To Support Outside ‘Super PAC’” The Wall Street Journal, 2/7/12)
 
  • #9
Pythagorean
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@Skippy

Thanks, I've never heard the term 'bundlers' before. According to opensecrets, it's not just towards Obama's campaign, but also towards the Democratic party. It's interesting that opensecrets puts Obama's PAC at 0. Is opensecrets bias or can they somehow justify that? That's kind of confusing to me why there would be that conflict.

Debbie Wasserman Shultz has been caught lying before, Anderson Cooper grilled her for it:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/08/23/anderson_cooper_hammers_wasserman_schultz_over_romney__abortion.html

Anyway, what do you think is the motive of the "lawyers" you mentioned? You seemed to present it as a mark against Obama? Not sure what your motive was, but the information alone doesn't make Obama the greater evil. Tell me more.

mehslep said:
And in 2008 for Obama JP Morgan $.8M, Citigroup $.7M, Morgan Stanley $0.5M, all more than McKain's top donors.
Yes, Goldman-Sachs donated over one million in 2008 (my second post). What their shifting support seems to demonstrate is that they don't like the 2010 Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul that Obama supports and they stand to benefit more from Romney's policies than Obama's this election. That's troublesome to me. Aren't these people that have a lot of accountability for the economic crisis?

Here's a businessweek article that comments further about the specifics:

Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act. He won’t, and that’s just fine with Wall Street.

Instead, Romney may give the financial industry something it wants more: a revamped Dodd-Frank that would accommodate some of the most profitable and riskiest activities while preserving a patina of protection for investors and consumers.
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-29/romney-s-dodd-frank-kill-pledge-collides-with-wall-street-agenda [Broken]
 
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  • #10
skippy1729
@skippy
Anyway, what do you think is the motive of the "lawyers" you mentioned? You seemed to present it as a mark against Obama? Not sure what your motive was, but the information alone doesn't make Obama the greater evil. Tell me more.
In general, the motive of the lawyers is that Republicans favour tort reform and Democrats oppose it. While in my personal experience I tend to view lawyers as the scourge of the earth, I have mixed feelings on tort reform. If it is done it must be done carefully. There are always unintended consequences to any "reform". Although the president holds many policy positions that I disagree with I will give him a pass on his choice of profession. :smile:
 
  • #11
mheslep
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...
Yes, Goldman-Sachs donated over one million in 2008 (my second post).
Yes I was curious why you left off your list all the other big banks that donated much larger amounts to 2008 Obama.

What their shifting support seems to demonstrate is that they don't like the 2010 Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul that Obama supports
The Obama administration has been in office nearly four years with any number of actions to their credit which business may or may not like, of which Dodd-Frank is only one. I doubt the banks were very fond of a government czar appointed to set executive pay, or some sinister threats from the White House. But I expect the top of the don't-like list for the banks is the current economy.

and they stand to benefit more from Romney's policies than Obama's this election.
I think most businesses in the US stand to benefit more from a Romney administration.

That's troublesome to me.
Why?

Aren't these people that have a lot of accountability for the economic crisis?
I don't think the banks were the primary problem; I think the Dodd Frank authors have a lot of culpability. But that aside what makes you think the thousands of pages of Dodd Frank will fix future problems?
 
  • #12
Pythagorean
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The way you're practicing Derrida's deconstruction on my post, it makes it difficult to be productive. See why this tactic is used (and shouldn't be) here. Particularly, see the chapters: "not a method", "not a critique", "not an analysis", and "not poststructuralist". As a specific example, you ask "why", when I've given the motivation in the following sentence. But through deconstruciton, you blinded yourself to context.

As for the lists I used, opensecrets defined the criteria: "top 5 contributors". It's the first piece of detailed information on the front page of their "presidential elections" coverage. When you do a piece of analysis, you define the criteria, and carry it to all cases. You don't change criteria for one case unless you have a good justification for it. It might even be seen as questionable. I want to see, for each each election, who wants the candidate to win the most. Top 5 contributors is ideal for that (and probably why it's the first piece of contirbutor-specific information opensecrets presents, no?). Of course, as skipper pointed out, we also have bundlers... but they're not as straightforward since their funds go towards Democratic party in general and names can be lost in the bundle so you have to be extra careful about your point when posting that information.

Banks:
I didn't say the banks were the primary problem, but they definitely have a lot of accountability, given their practices (I'm focusing on Goldman-Sachs here; namely because they were the top contributor to Obama, a democrat last election, but have shifted focus this election):

McClatchy's inquiry found that Goldman Sachs:

  • Bought and converted into high-yield bonds tens of thousands of mortgages from subprime lenders that became the subjects of FBI investigations into whether they'd misled borrowers or exaggerated applicants' incomes to justify making hefty loans.
  • Used offshore tax havens to shuffle its mortgage-backed securities to institutions worldwide, including European and Asian banks, often in secret deals run through the Cayman Islands, a British territory in the Caribbean that companies use to bypass U.S. disclosure requirements.
  • Has dispatched lawyers across the country to repossess homes from bankrupt or financially struggling individuals, many of whom lacked sufficient credit or income but got subprime mortgages anyway because Wall Street made it easy for them to qualify.
  • Was buoyed last fall by key federal bailout decisions, at least two of which involved then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former Goldman chief executive whose staff at Treasury included several other Goldman alumni.
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2009/11/01/77791/how-goldman-secretly-bet-on-the.html#storylink=cpy

Why don't you tell me more though, about the culpability of the authors of Dodd Frank? And why do you think it won't fix future problems (as it's intended to do, by disallowing undue risk)? I'm no expert, I'm genuinely curious. I trust rule-makers to do their job. I have good faith that the authors actually want to restrict the banks from the above practices mentioned. Why do you have bad faith?
 
  • #13
mheslep
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The way you're practicing Derrida's deconstruction on my post, it makes it difficult to be productive. See why this tactic is used (and shouldn't be) here. Particularly, see the chapters: "not a method", "not a critique", "not an analysis", and "not poststructuralist". As a specific example, you ask "why", when I've given the motivation in the following sentence. But through deconstruciton, you blinded yourself to context.

...
What I did above was to challenge what I see as unwarranted assumptions which is nothing at all like Derrida deconstruction. Yes having to go back and support those assumptions will slow things down.

I have no problem with the general proposition that money in politics often corrupts and buys influence, but I do have a problem with what I see is a one sided narrative you are placing on top of it. For instance, you ask about my "bad faith" assumption w/ regard to Dodd Frank, which is to ask why I do not accept it on faith as a good thing, while your earlier posts are a series of bad faith assumptions on your part about the banks.
 
  • #14
Pythagorean
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What I did above was to challenge what I see as unwarranted assumptions which is nothing at all like Derrida deconstruction. Yes having to go back and support those assumptions will slow things down.

I have no problem with the general proposition that money in politics often corrupts and buys influence, but I do have a problem with what I see is a one sided narrative you are placing on top of it. For instance, you ask about my "bad faith" assumption w/ regard to Dodd Frank, which is to ask why I do not accept it on faith as a good thing, while your earlier posts are a series of bad faith assumptions on your part about the banks.
Except for that my "unwarranted assumption" was in the following sentence, where you could have focused your attention and which I would have listened to a reasonable response to (and I gave you an opportunity to describe the problem with Dodd's authors where you had left a vague reference to their character) yet you focused instead on guessing my motives and trying to assay my character.

And you do so again in this post. I never denied bad faith, I openly admitted it (post #4) as well as provided evidence and reasoning for it (post #12). Yet you still focus on me instead of the real content. It makes me feel like you aren't really interested in having a real discussion. As I told skippy, I'm completely open to reason and argument... but you're not presenting that; you're presenting vague references and innuendo and trying to guess my motives.
 
  • #15
Pythagorean
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Huffington Post on why we need regulation like Dodd Frank, especially because of behavior still being committed by JP Morgan:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/jpmorgan-trading-loss-2-billion-financial-crisis_n_1510217.html

more from reuters on JP Morgan's strategies:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/14/us-jpmorgan-trades-idUSBRE84D04X20120514

The main problem here is derivatives abuse (which played a lead role in the subprime crisis of 2008). The Volcker Rule is an especially important aspect of the Dodd-Frank legislation in this aspect. And of course, Romney wants repeal the Volcker rule, which may explain why his top 5 contributors (accoring to opensecrets) are banks that are known for their derivatives abuse.
 
  • #16
mheslep
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... guessing my motives and trying to assay my character...
Not at all. Just the narrative you're telling.
 
  • #17
lisab
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Not at all. Just the narrative you're telling.
mheslep, if you have an argument against Dodd Frank, the best way to make your point is to go ahead and tell us what it is, specifically. Much more effective than the approach you're taking, IMO.
 
  • #18
mheslep
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Huffington Post on why we need regulation like Dodd Frank, especially because of behavior still being committed by JP Morgan:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/jpmorgan-trading-loss-2-billion-financial-crisis_n_1510217.html
Most of that article by Devine is about support or lack thereof for implementation of the Volcker rule. I see only one point from one source explaining *why we need regulation like DF* in the article:

“If the regulators do what [the Volcker rule] says ... this activity would not be permitted,” Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.),
Is that how you read it?

I read elsewhere the JP Morgan CEO, Dimon, says no, Volcker would not have stopped the loss.

I recommend this as to the why, and why not:
"http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303822204577464661833507038.html"
 
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  • #19
Pythagorean
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Are you able to find a free version of the article or else take some excerpts or summarize the main points?
 
  • #20
mheslep
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Are you able to find a free version of the article or else take some excerpts or summarize the main points?
Its free if you copy the URL text above instead of clicking it which engages the PF api.viglink.com strangeness.

Edit: I take that back. Google the story title "Q & A: The Volcker Rule", and access it via the google hit link. That seems to work. For now.
 
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  • #21
Pythagorean
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Hrm.. the wall street article doesn't really say much about the Vockler rule. Lots of words, but little satisfaction. It states there's a provision in the rule that would still allow the risky behavior, but I'd like to see details and some more about the mechanisms. Of course, the Wall Street article doesn't conclude one way or the other about Dodd Frank

Would the Volcker Rule have prevented the recent losses at J.P. Morgan?

Maybe. J.P. Morgan characterized the position that triggered its $2 billion loss as a hedge, and there is a provision in the proposed rule that would let banks hedge against risk across a portfolio—or across several portfolios. Bank officials and lobbyists have argued that the language in the law passed by Congress, which says that banks can engage in risk-mitigating hedges "in connection with and related to individual or aggregated positions," allows for these positions.
But can we agree that

"allowing such trades could create a very large loophole, effectively letting banks make big bets in the guise of hedging"

(quoting the Wall Street Journal's paraphrasing of Levin and Merkley.)

So whether Dodd-Frank does the job or not, are we in agreement that these kind of risky trades being disguised as hedging are something that threatens the economy? I don't think bailing them out in the first place (rewarding failure) should be done.

But assuming that there's always going to be somebody in office to get the bailed out (too big to fail philosophy), shouldn't we do something to curb the risks they take with the national economy?

I guess it could be noted that Obama has claimed "no more bailouts" but I hardly believe that will be the case.
 
  • #22
Pythagorean
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A debate between two economists (i'm watching it now, hoping for more information)

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/73866026-shapiro-hassett-debate-dodd-frank-one-year-later.html [Broken]
 
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  • #23
Pythagorean
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So the two economists from above disagreed on the usefulness of Dodd Frank, but they both agreed that if you have banks that are two big too fail, then they should be broken up.

However, as the pro-Dodd-Frank economist pointed out, getting a sufficient number of politicians to even want to break them up at the same time doesn't seem plausible, so (in his view) something like Dodd-Frank is the only alternative.
 

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