Hedgies Cool To Democrats As Wall Street Cuts Donations

Jul 7 2010 | 10:54am ET

Democrats bankrolled their successful efforts to retake Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008 with huge donations from Wall Street, and especially from the hedge fund industry. But to defend those gains in 2010, they’ll have to make do with much less from the same people.

Despite the big donations over the past several election cycles, Democrats pushed ahead with major financial reform legislation seen as hitting big banks. And it seems those big banks are hitting back, with donations from New York and its suburbs falling by 65% from two years ago, the Washington Post reports.

New York-area residents have given the Democrat’s two Congressional campaign committees just $8.7 million this cycle, down from $23.9 million. Much of the decline can be attributed to a newly-lukewarm financial sector, the Post reports, including less effusive giving from hedge funds. In 2008, a whopping 28% of the committees’ money came from the New York area. In 2010, the figure is less than 10%.

Take Apollo Global Management’s Leon Black: He and his wife gave more than $200,000 to the committees over the past two cycles, but have given not a penny this one. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, whose firm could be the hardest-hit by the Volcker rule which seeks to limit bank involvement in the alternative investments industries, has given nothing either, after donating $65,000 in 2006 and 2008.

Despite their newfound coolness towards Democrats, Wall Street hasn’t exactly rushed to embrace the Republicans, despite the minority’s battle against financial regulation reform. The Republican Congressional committees have taken in just $2.7 million from the New York area, slightly more than in 2008, but still less than a third of what Democrats have taken in. The Democratic committees have raised more than 50% more than Republicans this cycle.

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