Reuters reports that Goldman Sachs has virtually stopped raising money for political candidates through its political action committee even as it remains extremely well-connected to Washington lawmakers.
While rivals Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase have shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee political contributions, campaign finance records show that Goldman's political action committee hasn't taken any money from employees in more than a year -- its balance is a meager $25,482.
According to Reuters:
Critics believe Goldman might be operating under the belief that it has all the political influence it needs.
"They don't seem to need a PAC since Goldman has had its way with Washington consistently since Wall Street imploded a year ago," said Harvey Rosenfield, president of the non-profit Consumer Education Foundation. "You could argue they have done pretty well without any PAC contributions."
Not that Goldman employees aren't making contributions on their own - in the 2010 election cycle, they've contributed at least $174,303 to federal candidates, according to opensecrets.org.
Goldman, which was the biggest U.S. securities firm before last year's financial crisis, was the top corporate giver during the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The company strongly supported Democratic candidates.
Bloomberg reported last week that Virginia Sen. Mark Warner criticized the firm for continuing to hand out large bonuses while the banking industry is still under distress.
"I do hope that Goldman Sachs will be a little more sensitive to the optics of their actions," Warner, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt" being broadcast this weekend.
The company set aside $11.8 billion for pay in the first six months of 2009 alone, according to Bloomberg.
The Sunlight Foundation's Jake Brewer weighed in today on MSNBC's Morning Meeting on how groups like Goldman Sachs are doubling their lobbying efforts by contributing to lawmakers through lobbyist bundlers.
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