Money has been flowing much more freely this electoral cycle, and according to OpenSecrets.org, the amount will probably top $6 billion. That's a lot of green, and it made me wonder how much our friends on Wall Street have invested in the candidate of their choice. Moseying around the aforementioned site, I quickly came up with the answer: a lot.
Romney a clear fave with big banks, Obama not so much
Not surprisingly, the top contributors to the Romney campaign are Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM). Lest you think that Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) was asleep at the wheel, don't worry -- it is a little further down the list from its compatriots, and contributed enough to each candidate to be listed in both campaigns' top 20 donor lineup.
Obama's top four contributors include no banks at all, but tech firms Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) hold the second and third spots on the hit parade. Interestingly, the only bank on the list is Wells Fargo, inhabiting spot No. 19 -- right above another tech giant, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).
Was it something he said?
The comparison between donor lists is quite stark, and an article from the LA Times has a believable theory as to why that might be. The story notes that Wall Street entities have been only one-third as generous to Obama as they have been to Romney, and traces the beginnings of the strained relationship back to a meeting between the president and a over a dozen Wall Street CEOs. The article opines that Obama's tough line with those firms, in addition to his tax-the-rich stance, most likely did him in, taking any new-administration bloom off the rose immediately.
That theory certainly seems to be backed up by the numbers. In addition to the dearth of financial heavy hitters on Obama's donor list, the Times notes that not only have these companies showered Romney with largesse, but they have also spent more trying to remove Obama from the White House than they shelled out four years ago getting him in.
One Fool's take
The big boys are banking on a Romney victory, apparently hoping that some of the recently enacted rules and regulations designed to rein in Wall Street may be effectively reversed through new appointments to key departments. Will they get their wish? We'll know soon enough -- and, if the election goes to Obama through a win in the Electoral College, as Vice President Joe Biden suggests -- those top four big banks may wish they'd taken a page out of Wells Fargo's campaign contribution book.