The quickest way to a presidential candidate’s heart (or at least a small measure of loyalty) is to make a campaign donation. And both the Democrats and Republicans are adept at raking in the cash.
Figures filed by the campaigns with the Federal Election Comission as of Sept. 21, listed by opensecrets.org, show that Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have combined to raise a whopping $711 million. Of that total, Obama has pulled in $432 million and Romney, $279 million. Obama has a big advantage in the final weeks of the campaign because he has nearly $89 million left while Romney has “only” $50 million. Of course, these figures don’t include the massive super PACs that can spend, with some rules about how they do it, on behalf of either candidate.
Where does all that cash come from? The stereotype is that Wall Street and big business showers its donations on the GOP and the Democrats are left to fund their campaign through small, grassroots donations. The truth is more of a mixed bag. Obama can count on the legal sector as one of his top supporters, while Romney, according to NBC News, has the backing of most of the CEOs of the top companies.
Of their totals, Romney has raised 81% from large donors and Obama 61%, according to opensecrets.org, which combs through Federal Election Commission reports to analyze political contributions.
Still, the stereotype does have some validity. Romney’s top five contributors are banks or financial services firms including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. Obama’s top five includes two elite colleges, the University of California and Harvard, and two high-tech firms, Google and Microsoft. (Opensecrets.org says the totals are not from the organizations themselves but derived by adding those from PACs, individual employees or owners and their immediate families, as well as affiliates of the organizations.)
It’s also worth noting that in some sectors, tens of millions are being funneled through outside spending groups, which are less transparent, as to who they back.
We decided to look at just who is donating to each party by using opensecrets.org’s economic sector breakdown of contributions. Here is AdvisorOne’s look at Obama vs. Romney: Top 7 Places Where Campaign Cash Comes From.
1) Lawyers & Law Firms