Who gives the most money

Financial corporations and law firms dominate Career Patrons list

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 Updated:

Investment companies dominated President George W. Bush's $47 million fourth quarter fundraising, driven by networks of top individual contributors, according to a recent supplement to "The Buying of the President 2004," a book by the Center for Public Integrity detailing the financial interests behind each presidential candidate.

Trial lawyers led the way for the Democrats running for president.

All of Bush's ten largest donors for the period are linked to bundlers who have pledged to donate from $100,000 to $250,000 as part of the president's Pioneer and Ranger Programs.

Seven of the ten are financial services companies.

The largest donors for the quarter were Pricewaterhouse Coopers ($122,750), MBNA Corp. ($93,750), Deloitte & Touche LLP ($73,525), Southern Co. ($67,147), and Goldman Sachs Group ($65,750).

Rounding out the list were Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. ($58,904), United Services Automobile Association Group ($57,775), Rooney Holdings/Rooney Brothers ($56,000), and UBS AG Inc. ($54,850).

Among the most significant movers was credit card giant MBNA Corp., which jumped into second place on Bush's list of career patrons, trailing Enron Corp. by just $6,000.

At least 40 individuals from the Delaware-based company donated the maximum $2,000 amount during the last three months of 2003. Bush's fundraising strategy of having individuals raise large sums ("bundling") may have played a role at MBNA, which is headed by former CEO Charles M. Cawley and Executive Vice Chair Lance Loring Weaver. Cawley and Weaver are both Bush "Rangers," fundraisers who pledge to raise $250,000 for the president.

In addition to being among Bush's top donors, the seven financial services companies all lobbied on bills and issues that were being considered by the president. Some issues listed on these companies' lobbying forms included the dividend tax cut, bankruptcy reform and even the PATRIOT ACT, according to disclosures from the Senate Office of Public Records. Other legislative issues affecting these companies include the president's proposal to privatize Social Security and auditing regulations following the Enron scandal.

Overall, the Bush campaign raised just over $131 million in 2003 and had $99 million in the bank at the end of last year, according to reports filed with the FEC last week. So far, the president has raised almost $30 million more than all the democratic candidates combined. The president raised amounts at a rate of $577,000 a day. In contrast, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean raised $67,000 a day, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., brought in $64,000 a day and Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, averaged $45,000 a day.

With some of his largest donations for the quarter coming from Microsoft ($20,313), IBM ($14,387) and Compaq ($8,247), Dean showed he does not only raise money on the Internet but from Internet-related companies.

The top career patron to Dean's campaign continues to be Time Warner ($73,000) and University of California ($45,000). Dean, whose drop in the polls and fundraising took place after his disclosures, also received large contributions from financial services contributors like Citigroup ($10,280), Morgan Stanley Dean Witter ($8,796) and UBS AG ($8,781) late in 2003.

Kerry's largest donor in the quarter was the personal-injury law firm of Heard, Robins, Cloud, Lubel & Greenwood LLP ($28,000). In fact, law firms made up half of Kerry's top ten career patrons, including his top donor Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, which employ's Kerry's brother and has donated $232,736. Other firms include Hale and Dorr LLP ($129,858) and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom ($125,550).

Trial lawyers accounted for six of the largest 10 donors to Sen. Edwards for the quarter and make up eight of his top 10 career patrons. The other two are Steven Bing ($907,000) and Goldman Sachs Group ($174,350). Interestingly, Edwards' second largest donor during the second quarter was his own campaign workers, who donated more than $11,000.

Top Quarter Patrons

RankOrganizationTotalPioneersRangers
1Pricewaterhouse Coopers$122,750 Partner Richard R. Kilgus
2MBNA Corp.$93,750 CEO Charles M. Cawley and Senior Executive Vice Chair Lance Loring Weaver
3Deloitte & Touche LLP$73,525Partner Paul Maynard 
4Southern Co.$67,147 Executive Vice President Dwight H. Evans
5Goldman Sachs Group$65,750CEO Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Managing Partner George H. Walker IVLimited Partner Peter R. Coneway
6Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.$58,904 CEO E. Stanley O'Neal
7United Services Automobile Association Group$57,775CEO Robert G. Davis 
8Rooney Holdings/Rooney Brothers$56,000Chair Frances Rooney 
9UBS AG Inc$54,850 UBS Wealth Management USA CEO Joseph J. Grano
10Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.$44,250 Managing Director William H. Strong

Top Quarter Patrons list is based on contributions to Bush-Cheney '04 Inc. and Bush-Cheney '04 Compliance Committee Inc. through Dec. 31, 2003. The Pioneers and Rangers listed are based on names published by Texans for Public Justice.