Jeb Bush Is Beating Hillary Clinton in the Goldman Sachs Primary

The GOP contender has raised more cash from the Wall Street giant—but his rivals are close behind.

Goldman Sachs: Richard Drew/AP; Hillary Clinton: Li Muzi/ZUMA; Jeb Bush: Brian Cahn/ZUMA

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Over the past three months, Goldman Sachs employees have donated more than $147,000 to Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, helping him to an early lead in what might be called the Goldman Sachs primary. But winning the biggest share of contributions from the controversial, economic-crash-enhancing investment firm isn’t going to be a cakewalk for Bush. At least three other major presidential candidates—including Hillary Clinton, who has longstanding ties to the Wall Street giant—have bagged money from Goldman, with two of them using Goldman Sachs lobbyists to raise money for their campaigns.

Bush’s biggest rival in the Goldman money chase is his fellow Floridian, Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio’s campaign snagged just over $60,000 from Goldman Sachs. And Rubio has a Goldman insider hitting up his own network of wealthy friends for contributions. One of the three registered lobbyists bundling donations for Rubio is Joe Wall, a vice-president for government affairs at Goldman Sachs. Wall has so far reported bundling more than $90,000 for Rubio.

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, places third in in the Goldman sweepstakes. Her campaign reported raising at least $49,000 from Goldman Sachs donors. Like Rubio, she has a registered Goldman Sachs lobbyist drumming up donations on her behalf. According to the campaign’s filings, Steve Elmendorf, a major name on K Street, has bundled more than $141,000 for Clinton. Elmendorf’s many clients include Churchill Downs, the NFL, and the Human Rights Campaign—and Goldman Sachs. Clinton also has a history of raising big bucks from Goldman-ites. In 2008, her presidential campaign brought in more than $407,000 from the firm.

At the back of this pack is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has raised a mere $10,100 from Goldman Sachs employee. That’s something of a surprise, given that Cruz has a personal connection to the bank. His wife, Heidi Nelson Cruz, is a managing director at Goldman Sachs, though she has taken unpaid leave from the bank for the duration of her husband’s campaign. Even so, Cruz’s senatorial campaign previously raised $69,000 from Goldman Sachs employees, making the investment bank the fourth largest source of cash for the campaign that brought him to Washington and the national stage.

Among the other top-tier candidates, neither Rand Paul nor Bernie Sanders had any identifiable donations from a Goldman Sachs. (Scott Walker hasn’t filed any campaign disclosure forms yet.)

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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