Politics

White House Welcomes Wall Street Donors

AP

The White House opened its doors to Wall Street hedge fund directors for a discussion on the budget crisis this week. Many of the guests were major donors to the president and other Democratic candidates.

Bloomberg reports:

The Obama administration is continuing its outreach to Wall Street executives in pressing for a resolution of the U.S. budget dispute, with a meeting planned today between Valerie Jarrett and hedge fund managers, according to an administration official.

Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, will meet with financial services executives, including Daniel Och, chief executive of Och-Ziff Capital Management, according to the official, who requested anonymity when discussing private meetings.

Others scheduled to attend, the official said, include Stefan M. Selig, executive vice chairman of global corporate and investment banking at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch; Jonathan D. Gray, global head of real estate at Blackstone Group Management LLC; and Jes Staley, chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s corporate and investment bank.

Today’s Wall Street session with Jarrett, reported earlier by the New York Times, follows her meeting on Dec. 3 with Marc Lasry, managing partner and founder of Avenue Capital Group LLC, and Gary D. Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Jonathan D. Gray, the global head of real estate at Blackstone Group Management LLC, has contributed nearly $200,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Gray has given $61,250 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee, and $8,300 to Obama’s election campaigns.

Gary D. Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs, has also contributed over $100,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since 2008, including $55,500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and $2,300 to Obama.

The most generous donor given access to the White House this week was Marc Lasry, CEO and cofounder of Avenue Capital Group LLC. Lasry has been one of Obama’s top campaign bundlers and one of his five children has worked for Obama. Since 2008, Lasry has contributed $282,900 to Democratic candidates and committees, including $61,600 to the Democratic National Committee, $58,500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and $9,600 to Obama. Lasry has also indicated that he is waiting to profit off the fiscal cliff.

A study by the New York Times revealed a direct relationship between the amount a donor has contributed to Obama and the number of times that donor has visited the White House earlier this year.