At Saturday night’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire, front-running candidate Hillary Clinton answered a question about her ties to Wall Street by claiming she has had “more donations from students and teachers than . . . from people associated with Wall Street.”
According to Mrs. Clinton, donations from the financial sector have only totaled 3 percent. The Center for Responsive Politics (a source she cited at the debate), says Wall Street has actually contributed 7.2 percent of $77.5 million dedicated to the cause of electing her in 2016.
As of the last quarter reported in October, the Clinton campaign has received $2 million from Wall Street and $500,000 from commercial banks. Out of $63.4 million raised by her campaign directly, that total accounts for 3.9 percent.
However, super PACs which are supporting Clinton’s candidacy exclusively, such as Priorities USA Action, have received an additional $3 million from firms associated with equity markets.
To be fair, Mrs. Clinton has laid out a plan to implement more consumer protection laws relating to Wall Street firms, but for the most part they’ve yawned at it.
“We continue to believe Clinton would be one of the better candidates for financial firms,” read a note by Guggenheim Partners addressed to clients.
Specifically, Clinton’s plan would extend the statute of limitations for executives and employees of firms which commit financial crimes, place a tax on high-frequency traders, and make the so-called Volker rule more prohibitive by striking an exemption that lets banks invest three percent of their cash-on-hand in hedge funds.
As for Clinton’s donations from the education sector, the Center for Responsive Politics says she has received less than $2 million from teachers and administrators. The Clinton campaign claims they have received an additional $834,000 from students across the country.
Concerns from the left-wing of the Democratic party about the Clintons’ coziness with the financial industry are fair. Bill Clinton deregulated Wall Street during his tenure as president, most notably by repealing Glass-Steagall in 1999.
A part of the Banking Act of 1933, Glass-Steagall prohibited deposit banks from engaging in risky investment schemes such as derivatives trading and participation in hedge funds.
The Volker rule, which Mrs. Clinton has promised to strengthen as president, is part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The legislation was enacted in 2010 to prevent another collapse of the banking system, as in 2008, when the federal government was forced to bailout financial institutions including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, to the tune of $245 billion.
[CNN] [Center for Responsive Politics] [Pro Publica]