I spent most of yesterday in Washington D.C. (or at least in the corporate sprawl Tyson’s Corner), and got to feeling a bit political. Specifically, I was interested to know if Mitt Romney had maintained his Q1 lead in terms of campaign contributions from the private equity community. The Wall Street Journal already had a piece about this, but it only analyzed data from the Private Equity Council’s rarified membership. Maybe the writer was busy preparing for his next gig as Page 3 Girl caption writer…
Anyway, I went a bit deeper – looking in the Federal Election Commission database for contributions from professionals at private equity firms investing out of funds with $500 million or more. I excluded venture capitalists and hedge fund managers, and also private equity pros who work within investment banks (too difficult to sort out who was who). The result was a list 190 professionals who contributed a total of $363,307 between April and June. There also were some additional contributions to general election campaigns, but we’re just talking primary campaign donations today.
The big surprise is that Q1 leader Mitt Romney not only fell off his perch, but that he dropped to third. Barrack Obama took the top spot, with $70,850 from 39 professionals. Rudy Giuliani came in second withy $67,400 from 33 pros, while Romney placed show with $65,875 from 41 pros.
Actually, perhaps Romney’s fall is not as surprising as Chris Dodd’s ascent. He came in fourth with an astounding $59,332 from 31 pros – including more than $20,000 from Blackstone Group employees like Tony James and Garrett Moran.
Next up was Hillary Clinton with $35,300 from 19 pros, while John McCain ($15,650), Bill Richardson ($11,450) and Joe Biden ($8,900) rounded out the back.
It’s important to note that many of the above donations were made before the carried interest tax issue really broke into the mainstream, and certainly before Obama and Clinton came out in favor of changing treatment from capital gains to ordinary income. As of last check, Dodd was still hedging on the issue. I spoke to his spokeswoman this morning, who said she’d get back to me both on his position (if any) and how/why he ramped up his fundraising among PE pros.