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Wall Street donors back Obama campaign

July 23, 2011|By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from New York — Wall Street is supposed to have lost love for President Obama since his election, but early donations suggest he actually is doing better with the finance industry this time around.

Among big fundraisers, Obama's reelection campaign has drawn close to a third of his money from the industry, up from 20% during his 2008 campaign, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The amount raised so far is more than two-thirds what Wall Street elites helped Obama raise in his entire 2008 campaign. And it is enough to make the finance world the single largest source of big-ticket donations for Obama. By comparison, the legal profession was his top source in 2008.

The center looked at information that Obama released last week about his so-called bundlers, people who helped collect at least $50,000 for Obama and the Democratic National Committee.

The data come after reports that some former Obama donors on Wall Street had soured on the president after his reference to "fat cat bankers" and his push for greater financial regulation.

Obama listed 244 bundlers in the disclosure last week and is well on his way to raising more from bundlers than he did in 2008. Outside the finance industry, big names on the list included Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg.

All together, the bundlers raised at least $34.9 million for Obama, at least $11.8 million of which came from people in the finance industry. Among the nine bundlers who raised at least $500,000, four were from the financial world. The numbers are inexact because the campaign gave only broad ranges for what each donor raised.

Notable Wall Street names on the list included Jon Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs executive and governor of New Jersey, and Orin Kramer, who runs the hedge fund management firm Boston Provident.

nathaniel.popper@latimes.com

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