Employees of five financial services companies accounted for more than $1 million of the record $132.7 million President Bush raised last year for his reelection campaign.
All the firms have executives who rank among Bush’s “rangers,” campaign volunteers who raise at least $200,000 each for Bush, or who are “pioneers,” collecting at least $100,000 for the president.
Employees of Merrill Lynch individually gave at least $360,000. Workers at PricewaterhouseCoopers contributed at least $310,000; UBS, at least $230,000; and Goldman Sachs and MBNA, at least $220,000, according to reviews of Bush’s 2003 campaign finance reports by Associated Press and the nonpartisan Political Money Line.
“We’re proud of the broad support we receive from people from all walks of life and from all across the country,” Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt said Friday. “By the end of the year, we had more than 400,000 contributors, and obviously we screen all of our donations for whether they are legal and whether they are appropriate.”
Campaign officials noted the contributions from the five companies make up less than 1% of the campaign’s total donations.
Spokesmen for Merrill Lynch, whose employees together appeared to give the most, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.
“The reason the employees and executives of financial services companies are heavily committed to President Bush’s reelection is that it’s all about the economy in 2004,” said Steve Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Roundtable. “The overwhelming issue for financial services employees is the economy because overall our large companies finance the economy.”
Bartlett, whose company represents 100 of the industry’s biggest companies, gave $1,000.
Employees of several other companies in other industries gave Bush more than $100,000.
They included workers at the lobbying firms Blank Rome LLP and Winston & Strawn, Lehman Brothers financial services company, Ernst & Young accounting firm, Microsoft Corp., Morgan Stanley financial services company, Union Pacific railroad, and Credit Suisse First Boston.
The businesses also have executives among Bush’s roughly 150 fundraising rangers and 240 pioneers.
Bush was the first 2004 presidential candidate to file a campaign finance report detailing his fundraising and spending from October through December. He sent his report to the Federal Election Commission late Thursday. The year-end reports are due at midnight.