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.
In this series, which will appear over the next two weeks, we take a close look at hedge fund managers, private equity executives and their less glamorous but equally powerful Wall Street counterparts to discover who is supporting Romney and who is backing Obama—why, and for how much.
Jim Donovan, Goldman Sachs
Jim Donovan, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, is not only a close business associate of the presumptive Republican nominee for President; he is also Mitt Romney’s good friend and trusted advisor.
Donovan, an investment banker, has handled Romney's relationship with Goldman for years. It has been a lucrative one for both sides: Romney and his wife, Ann, have entrusted much of their estimated $250 million fortune to Goldman. And it is no secret that Goldman has advised private equity giant Bain Capital—where Romney was an executive—on many of its transactions.
The relationship is so close that it even merited extensive unpacking in a January New York Times article.
Donovan would not talk about his business dealings with the Romneys, but he did tell FINalternatives, “I've known Mitt Romney for more than 15 years. I’m proud of our friendship.”
“Initially, we got to know each other through our business relationship. As time went on, our families became friends and spent time together," Donovan added. “I’ve always admired Mitt. He’s brilliant, but also down to earth. He and Ann are terrific parents and grandparents. They have a remarkable family and I have tremendous respect for him."
That respect has translated into campaign cash for Romney. Both Donovan and his wife have given money to their friend's White House bid. Donovan has also given nearly $80,000 this cycle to other Republican candidates, party campaign committees and political action committees.
Donovan joined Goldman Sachs right out of graduate school in 1993 and became a partner in 2000. He is responsible for advising many of the largest corporate and individual Goldman clients. During his career at Goldman, Donovan has worked in investment banking, investment management, and on corporate strategy for the firm. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and received both his MBA and his B.S. in chemical engineering from MIT. Donovan is also an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia.
Money Managers And Their Donation Dollars