Ron Paul: Follow the Money

I love to spend time with opensecrets.org, a website sponsored by the Center for Responsive Politics. It delivers data on contributions and lobbying in a user friendly and searchable format.  After reading a blog posting by Vox Day decrying Romney’s financial ties with Wall Street, I did a quick comparison of the top contenders. As Open Secrets notes, the figures reflect the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families.”

Mitt Romney’s top three: 1. Goldman Sachs ($367,200), 2. Credit Suisse Group ($203,750), and 3. Morgan Stanley ($199,800).  A majority of Romney’s top 20 donors are financials.

I don’t find this particularly surprising given that many on Wall Street have turned on Obama and the Democrats. Indeed, while Goldman Sachs invested far more heavily in Democrats that Republicans in 2008, this time around its PACs and employees have invested a rather paltry $50,124 in Obama—less than 14 percent of what Romney has received. Note: in 2008, Goldman Sachs (PACs and employees) provided over $1 million to candidate Obama–the second largest source of funds.

Ron Paul’s top three: 1. US Army ($24,503), 2. US Air Force ($23,335), and 3. US Navy ($17,432). There are also several donations from individuals in defense contractors, the US government, and the Department of Defense—which I presume involve former members of the service.

This is far more interesting than Romney’s appeal to Wall Street. While several Republican candidates and pundits decry Paul’s foreign policy positions as irresponsible and naïve, no other candidate has members of the military in their list of top twenty donors.

I don’t want to draw too many conclusions given the limits of the data (e.g., it could be the case that members of the military give to each of the candidates but Paul’s relatively modest fundraising allows members of the military to rise to the top of the list). However, I do find it encouraging that members of the military constitute the largest donors to the only candidate who wants a radical break from the status quo in foreign policy. Perhaps they have the greatest stake in the outcome of the 2012 election.

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