Financial Blog

Fact Check: How much is Wall Street donating to Hillary Clinton's campaign?

She added that numbers from the campaign finance watch dogs at would say the same: You can go to and check that. I have more donations from students and teachers than I do from people associated with Wall Street.

According to, Clintons official campaign committee has raised nearly $77.5 million so far. And about $3.4 million came from donors in the financial and investment industries (OpenSecrets breaks it down into subcategories: Securities amp; Investment, Misc Finance, and Commercial Banks). Thats just a little over 4 percent of donations -- not exactly the 3 percent Clinton cited during Saturdays debate, but not far off the mark.

(The Clinton campaign later told CBS News that the candidate, during the debate, was only referring to OpenSecrets number from the Securities amp; Investment industry. The $2.04 million given by those in this category make up only 2.6 percent of total campaign donations.)

And as for whether or not more teachers and students donate to the campaign, lists donors in the education industry as giving only about $1.96 million. It ranks fifth of the top industries that donate to Clintons campaign. The securities amp; investment industry ranks one slot higher: its the fourth industry that gives most.

After the debate, the campaign told CBS News that by their accounting, all donations that come from teachers and students (including university professors, tutors, retired teachers, even yoga instructors) actually add up to just over $3 million. According to campaign spokesperson Josh Schwerin, OpenSecrets accounting does not include the campaigns fuller list of small-dollar donations.

Still, Clintons debate-night statement neglects to take into account the other funding sources that function outside of a candidates official campaign committee, like super PACs and other hybrid PACs. According to, outside groups backing Clinton -- including the super PAC Priorities USA Action -- add at least another $20 million into the fundraising mix. And Priorities USA alone has raised a total of $3.1 million from commercial banks and those in the securities and investment industry.

OpenSecrets further warns that only about 64 percent of total campaign and PAC contributions are actually identified and sorted by the industry they came from.

CBS News Hannah Fraser-Chanpong contributed to this report.

New York real estate scion on trial for trespassing

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Real estate heir Robert Durst appeared in a New York courtroom on Wednesday on charges of trespassing on property owned by his estranged family.

Durst, who has been questioned about but never charged with several mysterious deaths and disappearances, is accused of violating a restraining order to keep away from relatives, including his brother, Durst Organization President Douglas Durst, in June 2013.

Douglas set me up and caught me, Durst, 71, told reporters outside Manhattans criminal court.

Durst, who was tried and acquitted in Texas of the 2001 murder of a neighbor, called the New York trespassing trial tedious. Defense lawyers said he would not testify.

This is the most boring trial Ive ever been to, said Durst, looking frail and wearing a gray striped suit and black sports boots.

The restraining order is one of 13 aimed at keeping him away from relatives.

The Durst Organization oversees the lease of One World Trade Center, the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere.

Durst is accused of approaching and peering into security cameras of three residential properties his family owns in New Yorks midtown Manhattan and walking up the exterior stairs of one of them.

This is the latest brush with the law for Durst, who was questioned about but not charged with the disappearance of his wife in 1982 and the murder of a long-time friend in 2000. He was later found living in Texas disguised as a mute woman.

In his Texas trial, Durst admitted to killing and butchering his neighbor but a jury acquitted him of homicide after he argued it was an accidental shooting in self-defense. He was jailed for about three years for related minor charges.

His life inspired the 2010 Hollywood movie All Good Things and the documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, due to air in February on cable network HBO.

It has been an unlikely journey for a man born into the uppermost echelons of society. The Durst Organization is responsible for a good portion of the citys skyline - 13 million square feet of premiere Manhattan office towers, according to company press releases.

Durst, who now lives in Texas after getting about $65 million from the settlement of a lawsuit he brought against family trusts, most recently was charged with urinating on a drugstore candy rack in Houston.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg, Lisa Von Ahn and Sandra Maler)

American Crossroads Spotlights Warren-Defending DSCC's Wall Street Cash

American Crossroads aims to complicate matters for Elizabeth Warren, arguing that you can’t bash Wall Street and then turn around
 and take millions of dollars of donations on your behalf from the industry you have identified as the locus of all that is wrong with modern America.

Well, you can, but you shouldn’t, unless you’re a massive hypocrite whose words mean nothing. Hey, you know what? Carry on, Ms. Warren.

Now that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) – which has deep ties to Wall Street – is raising cash to support self-styled Wall Street reformer Professor Elizabeth Warren, American Crossroads president Steven Law is calling on Warren to:

1.       Return any and all funds she has received from the Wall Street-backed DSCC;

2.       Refuse to accept any future DSCC contributions, coordinated expenditures or ads on her behalf; and

3.       Immediately call on the DSCC to stop using her name for fundraising purposes.

The DSCC, which helped recruit Warren to run for Senate in Massachusetts and is now raising money to use for Warren’s campaign, has raised more money from Wall Street than from any other industry.  Since 2005, the DSCC has collected more than $40 million in contributions from Wall Street, the banking and financial services industries.  Just today, DSCC executive director Guy Cecil pledged to “protect” Warren with a DSCC “Emergency Media Campaign.”

“Far left professor Elizabeth Warren should get a PhD in hypocrisy for trying to launder Wall Street political cash through the DSCC’s war chest while simultaneously leading the Occupy Wall Street movement,” said American Crossroads president Steven Law. “Professor Warren ought to put the DSCC’s Wall Street money where her mouth is: and just say no to DSCC support.”

The Financial Services Industry has given more money to the DSCC than any other industry, including trial lawyers or labor unions.

The DSCC’s Wall Street Endowment for Elizabeth Warren

Since 2005 The DSCC Has Taken $40,555,590 From Wall Street, More Than Any Other Industry. (Center For Responsive Politics,, Accessed 12/13/11)

         In The 2012 Election Cycle, The DSCC Took $1,547,805 From Wall Street (The Securities And Investments Industry, Commercial Banks, And Misc Finance).  (Center For Responsive Politics,, Accessed 12/13/11)

         In The 2010 Election Cycle, The DSCC Took $7,274,205 From Wall Street (The Securities And Investments Industry, Commercial Banks, And Misc Finance).  (Center For Responsive Politics,, Accessed 12/13/11)

         In The 2008 Election Cycle, The DSCC Took $19,098,584 From Wall Street (The Securities And Investments Industry, Commercial Banks, And Misc Finance).  (Center For Responsive Politics,, Accessed 12/13/11)

          In The 2006 Election Cycle, The DSCC Took $12,634,996 From Wall Street (The Securities And Investments Industry, Commercial Banks, And Misc Finance).  (Center For Responsive Politics,, Accessed 12/13/11)

The Second Most Generous Industry To The DSCC Is Lawyers/Law Firms, Which Have Given $33,916,522 Since 2005.(Center For Responsive Politics,, Accessed 12/13/11)

Elizabeth Warren, as you may recall, took credit for creating the “much of the intellectual foundation” of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. I know, I know, you dispute the notion that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have any intellectual foundation at all.

For some reason I’m reminded of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: “The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.”

Disempowered Bankers Start Super PAC, Reveal Plans for World Domination

Members of the American Bankers Association recently announced that after years of being ignored in the halls of power, the industry will at last be creating its own super PAC to serve as its proverbial big stick.

For too long, the banking industry has been stuck at 13 on the list of industries giving the most to members of Congress, drowned out by such vehemently anti-banking interests as Misc. Finance (12), Lobbyists (7), Real Estate (5), and Securities and Investment (3).

American Banker editor-at-large Barbara Rehm writes, Frustrated by a lack of political power and fed up with blindly donating to politicians who consistently vote against the industrys interests, a handful of leaders are determined to shake things up.

While I am highly skeptical of the sentiment that Congress is not afraid of bankers, given that banking lobbyists outnumber banking reform advocates 25-1 and that the Chairman of the Senate Financial Services Subommittee seems to believe that the banks own the place, the most ridiculous thing about this announcement may just be the bankers willingness to reveal their strategy for skirting the non-coordination rules.

The Supreme Court and FEC explicitly prohibit Super PACs from coordinating with candidates and their campaigns. I generally interpret this to mean that having a direct conversation with a candidate is a violation of the rules. Yet Matt Packard, the Super PACs chairman, is apparently quite excited about using his new stick in that context, If someone says I am going to give your opponent $5,000 or $10,000, you might say, Yea, okay. But if you say the bankers are going to put in $10,000 or $500,000 or $1 million into your opponents campaign, that starts to draw some attention.

When is Packard imagining himself having this conversation and what will he be asking for to call off the hounds? This statement speaks volumes about how the industry thinks about its involvement in politics.

Note too that Packard says they may be directing money into your opponents campaign. He means that in the same way that one might give to Restore Our Future to support Romney right? Nope. While the coordination rules are twisted enough when it comes to candidate specific super PACs, Friends of Traditional Banking plans to go even further. The independent expenditure-only committee, according to Rehms description, will exist not to touch the money, but to direct it to the candidates actual campaigns.

This is starting to feel like the scene where the Bond villain reveals his whole plan for world domination. Even with a feckless FEC on the beat, Friends of Traditional Banking seems to be inviting federal investigation.

Rehm reports that the first thing prospective donors have been asking Utah Bankers Association president Howard Headlee is, Is this legal? Luckily, Headlee seems to have a Trevor Potter button for that.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the American Bankers Association created Friends of Traditional Banking. It is not part of this effort.

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