Big Banks Shifting Cash to GOPers?

| Wed Feb. 24, 2010 6:11 PM EST

The Washington Post reports

Commercial banks and high-flying investment firms have shifted their political contributions toward Republicans in recent months amid harsh rhetoric from Democrats about fat bank profits, generous bonuses and stingy lending policies on Wall Street.

The wealthy securities and investment industry, for example, went from giving 2 to 1 to Democrats at the start of 2009 to providing almost half of its donations to Republicans by the end of the year, according to new data compiled for The Washington Post by the Center for Responsive Politics.

However you cut it, there's still a lot of campaign cash flowing from the banks to each party. But if the GOP were to start carrying even more water for Big Finance and the Dems were to carry less, such a shift could help the Democrats going into the 2010 elections. After all, who wants to be pegged as the favorite of Wall Street?

In the coming months, President Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats are going to have to figure out how to counter a powerful anti-incumbent trend in the electorate and turn the coming congressional elections from a referendum on Obama and the Democrats into a choice between the two parties. The fight over financial reform legislation presents an opportunity for Obama and his Ds. With Wall Street hedging its bets and tilting toward Republicans, it might be easier for the Democrats to distinguish themselves as the party less in the pocket of Big Finance. To do that, of course, they need to pass a strong financial reform measure.

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