April 20th, 2010
05:19 PM ET
12 years ago

Goldman a top Obama donor

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.sachs.gi.jpg caption="Goldman Sachs, Wall Street's top investment bank, was a generous contributor to Obama's presidential campaign."] Washington (CNN) - Goldman Sachs, the embattled Wall Street investment bank defending itself from civil fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, has been an active donor to political candidates and parties in the past 20 years and was a top contributor to the 2008 presidential campaign of then-Sen. Barack Obama.

According to Federal Election Commission figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Goldman Sachs' political action committee and individual contributors who listed the company as their employer donated $994,795 during 2007 and 2008 to Obama's presidential campaign, the second highest contribution from a company PAC and company employees. Only the PAC and employees of the University of California, which donated more than $1.5 million, topped Goldman Sachs. Federal law prohibits a company from directly giving money to a campaign committee.

Goldman Sachs contributions to the Obama campaign were more than four times larger than the $230,095 in donations to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.

Read: More about Goldman's political contributions

Since 1990, Goldman Sachs' PAC and employees have consistently contributed more money to Democratic rather than Republican candidates for federal office. In the 2008 election, three out of every four dollars contributed by Goldman Sachs went to Democrats.

FEC reports also indicate that Goldman Sachs has contributed generously to Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee members in the last 15 months. The two panels are responsible for oversight of the industry.

In addition to the SEC lawsuit, the company, along with the rest of the financial services sector, faces an aggressive Democratic-led campaign to impose new rules on banks.

Updated 5:20 p.m.

Filed under: Goldman Sachs • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. so rich even obama couldn't hurt me but you middle class folk should worry

    change you can believe in!!!! these guys have been in the white house forever! it doesn't matter who's president they are in! you still think obama is change? you morons need to get your heads examined really! I have never seen a president who just straight up lied to this country during his campaign as much as this chump has! NEVER! and half this country fell for it!

    April 20, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. no way

    Wow, Obama got donations from people with jobs...are you kidding me? Who care's it's a big company and they were smart to support him because they know he was better than palin and Mccain. Just because they were employed by Goldman sachs doesn't mean they arn't humans with a vote to cast...

    April 20, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Paul Ernest Show

    That shows that the president is not for sale. A corrupt, politician would attempt to undermine the SEC investigation. The fact that, that is not happening,is a strong indication of a president with strong values and principles

    April 20, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Terry from West Texas

    Well then I'd say that Obama owes it to Goldman Sachs to straighten them out. If I were him, I'd put a few dozen more Justice Department investigators on the Goldman case. You can bet the rent that a thorough investigation will turn up a few thousand violations of federal and state law.

    April 20, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. kyle from ohio

    for the sake of fairness, do you think you can tell us who was the biggest reciever of money on the Republican side? you know just to be fair and balanced. the 3 out of 4 can be misleading

    April 20, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |

    you knew he was a snake when you picked it up and now he bit you

    g s you need to go down just for that

    April 20, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |

    I have confidence in President Barack Obama's ethics.

    This is information available in the public domain.
    What's your point, CNN?

    April 20, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Charles W. Skinner

    You can't be serious with this headline. Goldman Sachs is PLAYING ALONG with the current SEC charges. Anybody who thinks that the timing of the charges is "coincidence" and was not planned in FULL cooperation with the Obama Administration is brain dead. The Financial Regulatory Reform Legislation was in a lot of trouble, and POOF, magically the SEC votes (along party lines, mind you) to charge Goldman Sachs with fraud? Come on. You Obama apologists out there can't possibly be so dense to believe it wasn't coordinated.

    April 20, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Mikey

    The headline is very deceiving. When you donate, you have to, by law, list your employer on a form. Those donations came primarilly from indivuduals who supported President Obama and who happened to work for Goldman.

    As the article says, Obama shattered fundraising records, especially in the number of individuals donating, just as he had more volunteers than any campaign in history. Most of the large employers in the country probably have big numbers on the list of Obama donors for exactly the same reason.

    April 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Jean2

    . ..... and people that worked for Goldman Sacs. Just tell the story strait. We do not need any more spin.

    April 20, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Marty, FL

    Regardless if Congress or the president receive contributions from Goldman employees, it does not circumvent governing responsibilities to put proper oversight in place. For Dems to continue moving forward on taxpayer protections through finance reform (i.e. doing the job Americans hired them to do), it speaks volumes.

    In addition, the SEC is an independent organization with regards to its civil charges, as it should be.

    April 20, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. MikeH

    And yet they have had charges filed against them.

    Goes to show you that the Obama campaign will accept your money, but if you broke the law, Obama's still going to prosecute you.

    Not a Republican on this earth who would prosecute a bank, no matter how crooked the bank, won't happen.

    Obama's probably going to end up being one of the best Presidents ever.

    April 20, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Hud

    Well now, THAT's a shock!!!!!! (not)

    April 20, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    Backing Obama is a decision that Goldman Sachs is very likely regretting right about now.

    April 20, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Ryan D

    What are you implying CNN?

    That just because a large investment bank contributed money to fund a politicians campaign they should somehow EXPECT to be above the law on his/her watch when they are elected? Isn't that the "definition of bribery with intent to influence a public official?"

    Hey I donated 25 bucks, all I got was a T-Shirt, when really I should have expected to not have to pay my taxes this year. My "investment is really not paying off".

    April 20, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Ryan D

    Dig deeper Yoon – right behind this is the major story of all government and political corruption. Businesses and thier dollars shaping policy for thier benefit and greed.

    CNN really hired a hack on this one.

    April 20, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. MAKOM

    The world has come together and has seen what evil looks like. World leaders of all religions now have this common knowledge. Obama is the Anti-Christ, Devil on Earth, or what ever else you want to call this Demonic Figure. His words describe him, He is a False Hope, If you listen to him you will love him. He carries a Bow without an Arrow. He will conquer all through his speech, his false hoods will capture all who sit and listen to him.

    April 20, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Victim of GOP Taliban

    That's because Obama is the only President in history that pledged not to be influenced by the big $ lobbyists. Obama is the best President ever. Hopefully he can repair the mess the worst President ever left him.

    April 20, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. bennie new york

    Thanks for telling me something I've known for almost a year. Like any good citizen, I bypass the corporate news media and get my information from sources that aren't driven by ratings and money like all the TV news outlets are, who are too busy reporting on Tiger Woods and Michael Jackson to tell us where our politicians get their money. A suggestion to all readers of this post: if there is one source you must get your political information from, it is Rolling Stone Magazine. Matt Taibbi deserves a Pulitzer for his work tracking Wall Street greed and manipulation.

    April 20, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. DagnyTag

    $4.5 Million from Wall St. to Dems in '08
    $1.5 Million to Repubs
    $1 Million to Baracula
    No Fanny and Freddie in the reforms
    "Too Big To Fail Bailout" written in black and white in the "bill"
    The Friday before Baracula comes to NYC to suck on Wall St.'s jugular and make his "plea" (take-over) for Financial Reform

    Best part: watch the incalculable depth of ignorance from the libs regarding Buma Corrupticago's "efforts".

    April 20, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. David

    Unless the $$ amounts for the Goldman Sachs' PAC and individual donations are separated, the numbers are meaningless except for propaganda.

    There is no conflict of interest when individual donors make a contribution to a candidate's campaign. Individual donations are small and spread across so many people that a candidate doesn't owe any one person favors. I make donations to campaigns but my chosen campaigns may or may not affect the company I happen to work for. It certainly doesn't mean the candidate somehow owes anything to my employer. In fact, my employer has no knowledge of which candidate(s) I give money to.

    CNN, separate the numbers so the distinction between PAC money and individual donors is clear.

    April 20, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    hmmm they fed the hand that turned out to bite them. seems to be a pattern with this one

    April 20, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    And yet, Democrats are STILL pushing for a conviction!

    April 20, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. DagnyTag

    $4.5 Million from Wall St. to Dems in '08
    $1.5 Million to Repubs
    $1 Million to B.a.r.a.c.u.l.a
    No Fanny and Freddie in the reforms
    "Too Big To Fail Bailout" written in black and white in the "bill"
    The Friday before B.a.r.a.c.u.l.a comes to NYC to suck on Wall St.'s jugular and make his "plea" (take-over) for Financial Reform

    Best part: watch the incalculable depth of ignorance from the libs regarding Buma Corrupticago's "efforts".

    April 20, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Biased

    I guess we can wait and how see how many democrats show up to say that there is nothing wrong in Obama taking the donations from Goldman while they will probably say - republicans do it too, and CNN you are being unfair in even making mention of this. We'll see how many deflections from the actual topic we will be given. When will we see Fannie and Freddie face scrutiny for the problems they have caused under the guidance and lack of oversight by the democrats during the past 2 years of the Bush presidency til now and how much they contributed to the downfall? I presume it will be never but it might be nice to see fair treatment given to both sides of the political aisle in their lack of oversight and their part in contributing to the crisis at hand.

    April 20, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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