Big Donors backing Dems
Lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm that's home to Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr and Bush administration official Jay Lefkowitz, have given more to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign than to all of the top Republican candidates combined.
Large U.S. firms such as Jones Day and Sidley Austin, which donated more to President George W. Bush in 2000 than to Democratic candidate Al Gore, are giving thousands more to Democratic hopefuls than Republicans. Top Wall Street investment banks and hedge funds are also giving more to Democrats.
Even at Jones Day, the 2,167-lawyer firm that represents the Republican National Committee, attorneys have given 3 1/2 times as much to the three Democratic frontrunners, including $131,333 to Obama. The Cleveland-based firm's lawyers donated more than twice as much to Bush than to Gore in 2000 and slightly more to Bush in 2004.
Overall, lawyers in and out of large firms have given $18.27 million to Democrats Clinton, Obama and John Edwards, compared with $5.75 million to Republicans Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina and a trial lawyer, leads the pack, backed mainly by attorneys who sue on behalf of shareholders and individuals.
The donations of big firm lawyers mirror those of the largest Wall Street investment bankers who have also backed Democrats this year. Employees at the top 10 Wall Street investment banks gave more than $1.4 million to Democrats and a little more than $900,000 to Republicans, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
"Firms want to be on the good side of who they think is going to be the incumbent, whether or not that person is good for business," said Bruce MacEwen, a nonpartisan New York legal consultant. "The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats are going to win the White House."