Despite Tough Times, Wall Street Ponying Up For Political Conventions


Just because Wall Street firms have had trouble making money doesn’t mean that they aren’t sucking up to the next administration:

MarketWatch: With the Democratic convention in full swing Tuesday, this year’s list of party sponsors looks lean when it comes to pure-play Wall Street firms. They are not front-and-centre hosts on the party circuit as they were four years ago — lavishing ice sculptures, five-star food and top-shelf drinks on delegates. But make no mistake: They will be there.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the industry’s main lobbying group, will be sending officials and hosting a reception at each convention.

On Tuesday in Denver, the financial industry will host its Financial Literacy brunch, paid for by Bank of America Corp., Charles Schwab Co., Edward Jones, Fidelity Investments, MasterCard Inc., Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., Visa Inc., Wachovia Corp., and Wells Fargo Corp., among others.

In St. Paul, Minn., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America are slated to sponsor parties.
So far, the political parties have not disclosed how much companies and industries are spending on their Denver and St. Paul conventions. The estimated cost to stage the event runs to about $40 million per party, but some estimates say total spending, when including parties and other side events, may top $100 million for each convention.

That would top the spending of four years ago, when each side benefited from a stronger economic climate. Of the $142 million collected by the host committee of each major party in 2004, Wall Street coughed up roughly 10% to 15% of the total, according to the Campaign Finance Institute.

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