Deep pocketed donors have long played a role in national politics, but perhaps no group has become more influential in this election cycle than the financial titans known as asset managers.
Wall Street, which four years ago gave President Barack Obama almost twice as much as it did his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, has to date given $8.5 million to Mitt Romney's campaign to unseat the president this time around. By contrast, Obama himself has received just $3 million from financial industry donors.
Romney's so-called Super PAC, Restore Our Future, has raised $43.2 million—and at least $13.5 million of that total has come from people or organizations tied to the alternative investments industry. Some of the biggest names in hedge funds have given the group at least $1 million, including Julian Robertson, Paul Singer, John Paulson and Renaissance Technologies co-CEO Robert Mercer.
Starting tomorrow, we are taking an in-depth look at these and other hedge fund managers, private equity executives and their less glamorous but equally powerful Wall Street counterparts. We’ve sifted though tax returns, financial disclosure documents and donor lists to discover who is supporting Romney and who is backing Obama—why, and for how much.