By Tory Newmyer
October 17, 2015

Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington

Hillary Clinton continues to lap her presidential rivals from both parties in fundraising, pulling in $29 million from July through September. She finished the third quarter with $33 million in the bank — $6 million ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (and $20 million past the nearest GOP contender, though the money can only be spent during the primaries). But if she’s sending thank-you notes, not many will have Wall Street addresses. Employees of eight of the biggest banks, for example, only pitched in $125,000 over the three-month period. That’s enough to outpace her nearest-running rival, but considering Sanders is a self-described Democratic socialist who wants to break up the big banks, it isn’t really saying much. And consider how Clinton’s latest Wall Street haul compares to what she raised from the industry during the same period in her 2008 bid: In the third quarter of 2007, she collected more than $625,000 from the same sources, a Fortune review of federal election records shows.

Of course, a lot’s changed since 2007. Then, Clinton was the junior senator from New York, representing a financial industry enjoying dizzying highs before the crash. The ensuing crisis spawned populist movements on both ends of the political spectrum that are still exerting centrifugal pull on each party’s establishment. As Republicans in Washington stood athwart Wall Street reform, Democrats pushed it into law. So these days, while friction over the issue aggravates the GOP’s base-establishment divide, Democrats are haggling over how far they should veer to bring the industry to heel. Clinton has tacked left, tracking her party’s lurch. But her proposals, while tough — she includes a call for prosecuting executives guilty of wrongdoing and targeting so-called shadow banking, like hedge funds — wouldn’t upend the industry altogether. The flight of Wall Street money from Clinton tracks a broader realignment by the sector, from 58 percent in favor of Democratic candidates in 2008 to 69 percent for Republicans in 2012. Clinton likely won’t miss the money, considering the political currency she gains from her anti-Wall Street pose.

Tory Newmyer


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