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Goldman sachs workers big donations to bush { August 20 2004 }

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Goldman Sachs Workers Top Donantion List
Friday August 20, 2004 2:03pm

NEW YORK (AP) - With Election Day little more than two months away, employees at Goldman Sachs Group are far and away the most active political donors on Wall Street.

In the 2004 election cycle to date, employees at the New York-based investment bank have given just under $4 million to political candidates and causes, in nearly 2,000 separate donations, according to Federal Election Commission data made available by the Web site

The amount of money coming from Goldman Sachs, which has just under 20,000 employees, dwarfs donations from workers at rival investment banks.

Merrill Lynch & Co., with nearly 40,000 employees, has seen its workers give about $1.5 million in 1,300 individual donations during the current cycle.

Morgan Stanley & Co., which employs 50,000, has also seen its staff give around $1.5 million.

UBS employees have individually donated $1.4 million, and Lehman Brothers Inc. staff have contributed just over $1 million.

The employee head count estimates were valid as of the end of 2003.

The donations in the FEC data are all from individuals, and not the companies themselves. The banks may, however, operate their own political action committees, where they are legally able to cover the operating costs of those vehicles, but not allowed to contribute anything else.

Political giving at Goldman Sachs skews slightly towards Republican candidates, but not by the degree many would think natural to Wall Street, where wages are high and the constituency seemingly more attuned to the message of the GOP.

The partisan pattern of donations among Goldman employees roughly mirrors that of the financial industry as a whole.

In terms of money flowing to presidential candidates, the Center for Responsive Politics, which operates the website, said that to date, Goldman staff have given $348,875 to President George W. Bush (website - news - bio) 's re-election effort and $209,750 to Democratic candidate John Kerry (website - news - bio) 's campaign.

Steven Weiss, communications director for the center, said Goldman Sachs' employees' donations are largely consistent with the banking and securities industry as a whole, which is consistently among the top industries for political money contributions.

He ascribes the fairly even partisan breakdown to an industry that is "pragmatic in its giving. (The industry) hedges its bets" and seeks to spread the money widely to get the most benefit from it.

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