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By the Numbers: Who Did Wall Street Buy in 2008?

Amid the jumble of contradictory, foolish, and entirely nonsensical sentiments bubbling up at Occupy Wall Street, one clearly rises above the rest: Wall Street is evil. Corporations suck. They need to keep their money out of politics and stop corrupting our elected officials.


And while some of these protesters understand that Obama, the man they elected to the highest office in the land in 2008, is the real puppet of Wall Street, some of them still need a lesson in that math subject Obama claims to love so much.

Take, for example, the gentleman I spoke to at Occupy DC last Thursday. While waving his anti-Goldman Sachs sign and proclaiming himself, "anti-Big Bank USA," yet pro-Obama, he couldn't tell me who donated the most money to Obama's presidential campaign.

Happy to oblige, I produced a list of the top donors to Obama and McCain's campaigns--and if you're an "anti-Big Bank USA" Obama supporter, you sure as heck won't like his numbers. Below, you will see a comparison between Obama and McCain's top twenty campaign contributors:


Some highlights:

  • In blue, at the top, you see Obama's top contribution, $1,648,685 from the University of California. McCain's top contribution, in red, was $375,895 from Merrill Lynch. The sum of McCain's top five donations ($1,569,799) does not even add up to Obama's single highest contribution.
  • McCain's top donation was $375,895. Of Obama's entire top twenty contributions, not a single one is under half a million dollars.
  • Lehman Brothers and Bank of America, in green, are on McCain's top twenty list. They did not make Obama's. However, Obama received more money from both banks. Neither of those contributions were used in the total sum at the bottom.
  • The contributions in orange, green, and red are all from Wall Street. Five of Obama's top twenty contributors were from Wall Street, while McCain had eleven. However, those five banks alone contributed $3,603,495, while McCain's eleven banks contributed $2,604,890. And keep in mind that more than just those five banks donated to Obama; they were just the only ones who donated over half a million dollars to him.
  • In total, Obama's top twenty contributors gave him $13,382,825, while McCain's gave him $4,034,622--meaning Obama had a $9,348,203 advantage.

Some review questions for you: Who did Wall Street buy in 2008? Who would have been more hurt by restrictions on corporate donors? Which party has corporate interests at heart?

The numbers say it all. Class dismissed.

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