A revolt among big donors on Wall Street is hurting fundraising for the Democrats’ two congressional campaign committees, with contributions from the world’s financial capital down 65 percent from two years ago.
The drop in support comes from many of the same bankers, hedge fund executives and financial services chief executives who are most upset about the financial regulatory reform bill that House Democrats passed last week with almost no Republican support. The Senate expects to take up the measure this month.
This fundraising free fall from the New York area has left Democrats with diminished resources to defend their House and Senate majorities in November’s midterm elections. Although the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have seen just a 16 percent drop in overall donations compared with this stage of the 2008 campaign, party leaders are concerned about the loss of big-dollar donors. The two congressional committees have raised $49.5 million this election cycle from people giving $1,000 or more at a time, compared with $81.3 million at this point in the last election.
Almost half of that decline in large-dollar fundraising can be attributed to New York, according to a Washington Post analysis of records filed with the Federal Election Commission. Donors from that area have given $8.7 million this year, compared with $23.9 million at this point in the 2008 cycle, with most of those contributions coming from big contributors in the financial sector. New York donors had given congressional Democrats almost twice as much money at this stage of the 2006 midterm campaigns, when Republicans ruled both chambers and held the White House.
Reasons for the plummeting donations include concern about the economic recovery and the personalities of the campaign committee leaders, Democratic experts say. But the overwhelming factor is the rising anger among financial executives who think they have not been treated well based on their support of Democrats over the past four years, according to lawmakers, party strategists and fundraisers. Several of the party’s biggest New York donors declined through spokesmen to be interviewed. Some Democrats say pushing Wall Street reform is more important than any slippage in political donations.