GOP Turning Pro-Bank Stance Into Big Bucks

It’s not a secret that dating back to the 1990s, the financial services industry has tended to be one of the more Democratic-leaning business groups. But as the Wall Street Journal reports that’s all changing. Bankers who gave money to Obama are sad to discover that the White House isn’t in their pockets:

Wall Street executives who supported Mr. Obama during the presidential campaign said there had been growing signs of discontent. These Democrats predicted that the unease would depress fund raising as the 2010 election heats up.

One major Democratic fund-raiser on Wall Street said that some people who raised money for Mr. Obama’s campaign felt burned. “They put themselves on the line internally with their companies for Obama, and now they look stupid,” this person said.

Conversely, the GOP policy agenda of bailouts, deregulation, and opposition to taxing bankers is reaping financial rewards:


Last week, House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio made a pitch to Democratic contributor James Dimon, the chairman and chief executive of J.P. Morgan, over drinks at a Capitol Hill restaurant, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Boehner told Mr. Dimon congressional Republicans had stood up to Mr. Obama’s efforts to curb pay and impose new regulations. The Republican leader also said he was disappointed many on Wall Street continue to donate their money to Democrats, according to the people familiar with the matter.

A spokeswoman for J.P. Morgan declined to comment.

“I sense a lot of dissatisfaction and a lot of buyer’s remorse on Wall Street,” said Rep. Eric Cantor (R., Va.), the second-ranking House Republican and a top Wall Street fund-raiser for his party.

Obviously, the policy issues are going to continue to be contentious. But there’s a surprising amount of confusion about the basic interest-group politics here. Conservatives are trying to position themselves as in line with populist anti-banker sentiment, while also sipping cocktails with Jamie Dimon and pitching him on how they deserve more cash in exchange for their valiant defense of banker interests.