Wall Street spent a record $2.9 billion on political contributions and lobbying in 2019 and 2020, a new study shows. Here’s who spent, and received, the most cash.

Trump Biden
President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump.

  • Wall Street spent a record $2.9 billion on campaign donations and lobbying in 2019 and 2020, a report suggests.
  • It donated heavily in favor of Biden over Trump. Bloomberg LP was the top donor.
  • Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Georgia Democrat, received more money than any other current member of Congress.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Financial-services firms and trade associations, as well as their employees, spent a record $2.9 billion on campaign donations and lobbying in the 2019-20 election cycle, according to a new report by Americans for Financial Reform (AFR).

Bloomberg LP, founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spent the most cash, and Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Georgia Democrat, received more money than any other current member of Congress, the report said.

The sector spent around 2.5 times more money on electing President Joe Biden than it did on reelecting former President Donald Trump, the data showed.

The total spend was around 50% more than the previous record, when the financial-services industry spent $2 billion during the 2015-16 election cycle.

Read more: The Great GOP Migration: How South Florida became a shadow capital for Trump conservatives

The financial-services industry donated $1.96 billion to House, Senate, and presidential candidates seeking election in the 2019-20 election cycle, and spent $932.9 million on lobbying across 2019 and 2020, per the report.

AFR based its analysis on contributions reported by both financial-services companies and trade associations and individual employees between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020. CNBC first reported on its findings.

Bloomberg LP gave the most money

In total, nearly 600 financial-sector companies and trade associations spent at least $500,000 on contributions and lobbying across 2019 and 2020, per the report. It added that there were more than 2,000 registered lobbyists working across the sector.

These are the 20 companies and associations who spent the most, according to the AFR:

  1. Bloomberg LP – $158.9 million
  2. National Association of Realtors (NAR) – $154.3 million
  3. Fahr LLC – $70.7 million
  4. Citadel LLC – $69.3 million
  5. Blackstone Group – $49.5 million
  6. Charles Schwab & Co – $35.6 million
  7. Susquehanna International Group – $30.7 million
  8. American Bankers Association (ABA) – $26.6 million
  9. Paloma Partners – $25.5 million
  10. Bain Capital – $22.0 million
  11. Renaissance Technologies – $21.3 million
  12. Stephens Group – $18.4 million
  13. Elliott Management – $17.0 million
  14. Wells Fargo – $16.8 million
  15. Intercontinental Exchange Inc – $16.2 million
  16. Lone Pine Capital – $15.2 million
  17. Ryan Specialty Group – $15.1 million
  18. Euclidean Capital – $14.4 million
  19. American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) – $13.9 million
  20. Securities Industry & Financial Market Association (SIFMA) – $13.8 million

Mike Bloomberg briefly ran for president before pumping his fortunes into helping Biden beat Trump.

Who received the funding

The financial-services sector gave $982.8 million in party-coded contributions across 2019 and 2020 through both individual employee donations and PACs, the report said. Of this, 47% went to Republicans and 53% went to Democrats.

Current congressional candidates received $311 million in contributions from the financial sector to their campaign committees and leadership PACs, according to the AFR.

The 10 current members of Congress who received the largest amounts were:

  1. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) – $6.5 million
  2. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) – $6.3 million
  3. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – $6.2 million
  4. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – $5.5 million
  5. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) – $5.3 million
  6. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) – $5.1 million
  7. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) – $4.9 million
  8. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) – $4.8 million
  9. Sen. (D-MI) – $4.7 million
  10. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) – $4.5 million

These donations were dwarfed by contributions to some candidates who ran for reelection but didn’t retain their seats. Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both running in the Georgia Senate races, each received more than $9 million in donations from the financial-services industry.

Wall Street “seems to have made a particular effort to preserve Republican control of the Senate to both lock in pro-industry measures passed during the Trump administration and to forestall reform under President Biden,” the AFR wrote in the report.

Perdue Loeffler
David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Despite almost equal support for Democratic and Republican candidates, the sector donated overwhelming towards Biden’s presidential campaign over Trump’s.

The finance, insurance, and real estate sector contributed $252.6 million towards Biden’s campaign and external groups supporting him – more than twice as much as the $103.3 million given to Trump, according to the AFR.

In the aftermath of January insurrection at the Capitol, dozens of top US companies halted political donations, including Walmart, Amazon, Morgan Stanley, Dow, and AT&T. Some stopped donating to both Democrats and Republicans, and some to specifically to the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted against certifying Biden as president.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Microsoft will pause political giving through 2022 to lawmakers who voted against certifying the presidential election

Microsoft.
Microsoft also changed the name of its PAC to the Microsoft Corporation Stakeholders Voluntary PAC.

Microsoft will suspend contributions from its PAC through the 2022 election cycle to federal legislators who denied certification of the presidential election, the company said in a blog post Friday.

Following the Jan. 6 insurrection in which supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify the election, the tech giant halted all political contributions, pending review. Now, the company has determined it will only suspend contributions to federal legislators who opposed certifying President Joe Biden’s win, as well as state officials and organizations that supported overturning the vote.

“We believe these steps are appropriate given the importance of these issues for the stability and future of American democracy,” Fred Humphries, vice president of US government affairs, wrote in an email to the company’s PAC community.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Microsoft employees slam the company’s PAC over its donations to election objectors, leaked internal discussions show

Microsoft also changed the name of its PAC to the Microsoft Corporation Stakeholders Voluntary PAC in order to indicate stakeholder contributions are voluntary. The company’s PAC came under fire last month by employees who criticized it for donating to Republicans who supported unfounded claims of election fraud. Insider reported that President Brad Smith told employees the PAC allowed the company to gain access to legislators who could advocate for corporate interests. 

As part of its renamed PAC, Microsoft said it would create a new initiative to promote public transparency, campaign finance reform, and voting rights, and would work with other companies in its efforts to “strengthen democracy.” Companies, such as Google, Amazon, Marriott, and many others, similarly decided to halt contributions to Republicans who opposed the 2020 election results, following the deadly Capitol riots

Read the original article on Business Insider