Hillary Clinton has pledged to take on big banks should she clinch the White House in November, yet many of the financial companies that would come under renewed scrutiny have funneled sizeable donations into the Democratic front-runner’s presidential bid.
The "shadow banks" that escape government regulation explicitly targeted under Clinton’s plan to heighten oversight—including hedge funds, private equity firms, and insurance companies—have given a combined $24.9 million toward her campaign, according to a Bloomberg analysis of campaign finance records published Thursday.
Hedge fund operators have contributed $17.7 million toward electing Clinton, including a $7 million donation by George Soros to Priorities USA Action, the main super-PAC supporting Clinton, and $7.5 million from James Simons, the founder of Renaissance Technologies. Both Soros and Simons are long-time supporters of Democratic candidates and liberal causes, and each donated to Clinton’s 2008 presidential and 2006 Senate campaign. Executives of the Blackstone Group LP contributed $151,000, while employees of Centerbridge Partners gave $140,000 and Oaktree Capital Management LLC, $72,000. Private equity firms have donated $6.7 million, while insurers, excluding those in the healthcare field, have contributed $515,000. The 20 largest banks by assets — a group that includes JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group — contributed $1.1 million.
Despite the massive contributions, Clinton has repeatedly called for tighter Wall Street regulations, backing expansions to Dodd-Frank and a risk fee on large financial institutions.
"Hillary Clinton has proposed the toughest Wall Street reform plan of any candidate because she believes that the measure of our success must be defined by how much incomes rise for hard-working families, not just CEOs and money managers," Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, told Bloomberg.
Bernie Sanders disagrees. The Vermont senator has criticized Clinton for being too closely tied to the financial industry, portraying the former secretary of state as an ally to Wall Street firms.
She has also received extensive scrutiny throughout her campaign for amassing $2.5 million through paid speeches to Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs. Despite repeated calls from both Sanders and Donald Trump, the former first lady has refused to release transcripts of those speeches.
The revelations from Bloomberg arrived just weeks after the Wall Street Journal published a report finding that Clinton raked in more cash from Wall Street executives than any other presidential candidate during the latest fundraising period.
Clinton has raised $4.2 million from Wall Street donors since announcing her campaign in April 2015. In March alone, the Democratic front-runner received 53 percent of all Wall Street donations as financial executives gave $344,000 to the Clinton campaign.