Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) employees have changed teams, while last year around three-fourths of their campaign donations went to Democratic candidates and committees, including presidential nominee Barack Obama, but this time about 70 percent of their contributions moved towards Republicans. This switch, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, from the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group that tracks campaign donations, is the biggest since 1989. In 2008 the largest contribution was from Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) of $6.1 million, this time employees have given $4.9 million, also more than anyone else.
Apart from Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) employees, 13 other companies are also backing Republicans after four years of support for Democrats.
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“A switch in party preference of this magnitude is virtually unheard of among major companies with an established presence in Washington,” said Rogan Kersh, provost at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Another company which changed to red from blue, is Dallas-based AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), giving two-thirds of their contributions to Republicans, against equal contributions for both red and blue in 2008. Their Chairman, Randall Stephenson, made his biggest donation in more than two decades, of $30,800 to the Republican National Committee in February. No surprise, the donation was made just six weeks after the rejection of a proposed merger with T-Mobile USA Inc by Obama administration. General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) employees, which contributed 66 percent of their donations to Democrats in 2008, this time with an almost similar percentage (63) they are supporting Republicans. Lindsay Lorraine, a company spokeswoman, said “GE employees contribute personal funds to any candidate they choose.”
Pledge to repeal the new rules might have worked for Mitt Romney, co- founder of the Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC. The new and stricter rules were enacted by Democratic Congress for the banking industry after the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Therefore, unhappy with the new rules, most of the Companies which have reversed their political funding are financial institutions, including the biggies like Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), JPMorgan Chase & Co.(NYSE:JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), and UBS AG (NYSE:UBS).
“Wall Street fell in love with Obama in 2008,” said Stephen Hess, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University in Washington. “It had more to do with the heart than the head. And love affairs, at least of the political variety, usually end in disappointment or disillusion. So Wall Street has now returned to its own reality — as well as one of its own.”
In last elections, the majority of the employees in 15 of the 25 companies, including all six financial institutions, backed Democrats, especially Obama. Then-UBS Americas Chairman, Robert Wolf, raised more than $500,000 for the Democratic nominee. This time just four of the top 25 companies, Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), continued their support to Democrats.