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Private equity donations favor Republicans

Top Republican U.S. presidential candidates have received more campaign contributions from private-equity firms than Democrats, a shift that could signal dissatisfaction over a Democratic-backed tax plan, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
/ Source: Reuters

Top Republican U.S. presidential candidates have received more campaign contributions from private-equity firms than Democrats, a shift that could signal dissatisfaction over a Democratic-backed tax plan, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

In the 2000 election, and even more so in 2004, Democratic candidates for the White House and Congress got a larger share of contributions from private-equity firms than Republicans, the newspaper said, citing data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

But newly-released campaign finance reports for the 2008 presidential contest may signal a reversal of that trend, the Journal said.

The reports show former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Arizona Sen. John McCain received a total of $262,000 in contributions from employees of private-equity companies since January, the newspaper said.

In comparison, the top Democrats in the 2008 race, Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, received a total of $231,000, it said.

Democrats have largely backed legislation to raise taxes on private-equity executives and investment fund managers. The leading Republican candidates opposes any legislation to increase taxes on those firms, the Journal said.

The newspaper said the fund-raising analysis only includes donations to the six leading presidential candidates from 11 private equity companies including industry leaders such as Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, and Blackstone Group.

In the 2000 election, employees of those same private-equity funds gave 52 percent of $2.7 million in donations to Democratic presidential and congressional candidates, records show.

That percentage grew to 69 percent of the $3.4 million in donations from private equity employee donations in the 2004 election, the newspaper said.

Of presidential candidates this election, Romney leads in private equity donations, partly the result of $100,000 in contributions from staff at Bain Capital LLC, the Boston investment fund he helped found, the Journal said.

McCain reported $40,000 in contributions from Blackstone, the Journal said, while the firm's employees also gave $14,300 to Giuliani, $13,300 to Romney, $11,600 to Clinton, and $43,700 to Obama.