Wall Street prepares funding retribution in response to financial reform
Despite the fact that the likely outcome of financial reform negotiations will be a bill that doesn’t go as far as many have suggested it needs to, it seems that Wall Street is already putting plans into motion to punish Democrats for their efforts.
In extracting their revenge, Wall Street intends to hit Democrats where they are best able, in the pocketbook,
With the financial reform bill likely to hit President Barack Obama’s desk in coming weeks, Wall Street’s top political players are warning Democrats to brace themselves for the next phase of the fight: the fundraising blowback.
Democrats who backed the bill are finding big banks far less eager to host fundraisers and provide campaign cash heading into the tightly contested midterm elections this fall, insiders say.
Some banks, in fact, have discussed not attending or hosting fundraisers at all for the next few months. Goldman Sachs is already staying away from all fundraisers, according to two sources. The company would not comment.
In an election year, this threat no doubt causes some not inconsiderable concern for those Democrats up for election — particularly those in New York. But in all honesty, I think Democrats need to see this latest ploy by Wall Street as electoral mana from heaven.
Anger at Wall Street over their actions remains extraordinarily high. So much so that public outrage fueled a dynamic whereby the bill in question got stronger instead of weaker over the course of debate. And while the predictable degree of moderation has occurred over the course of conference, appetite for stronger financial reform remains high.
With Goldman Sachs polling at an approval rating of 4% as recently as May — an approval rating that, at the time, clocked in lower than BP’s 11% — the Democrats should have no qualms about being publicly scorned by Goldman and their peers. Even if that scorn comes with financial repercussions.
Indeed, the Obama administration could use some perceived distance between itself and Wall Street. A May 2010 CBS News poll found that 59% of Americans feel that Wall Street has too much influence over the administration. That trend remains true even when the perceptions are broken down on party lines.
Unsurprisingly, 60% of Republicans and 63% of independents feel that Wall Street’s grip over the administration is too tight. But a whopping 53% of Democrats feel that the Obama administration is too cozy with Wall Street, according to the poll.
With mid-term polling continue to favor Republicans, Democrats need to be able to cease on as many arrows in their quiver nearing the November election. As campaigns begin to shift into high gear, a loud, public, and messy fight between Democrats and Wall Street may well wind up being a more powerful public relations tool for embattled Democrats than any amount of fund raising might be able to buy.