WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's largest campaign donors last month included employees of Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission records.
Their support indicates that Wall Street, which gave Obama $16 million for his successful 2008 White House run, is opening its checkbook again for the president. The contributions helped Obama raise $21 million in February, including $6.5 million transferred from a joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee.
"The reality is the election has evolved from being Obama versus Obama to Obama versus a Republican alternative," said Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic National Committee member and Obama fundraiser. "Now that contributors, party activists and citizens are seeing the choice, you're seeing more support emerge for Barack Obama."
Obama has raised $161 million for his re-election and entered March with $84.7 million in the bank. Four years ago, engaged in a primary battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, he had raised $197 million by the end of February and had close to $40 million in cash.
The incumbent has raised twice as much as Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, who has brought in $75.6 million, including $12 million last month. Obama's campaign bank account entering March was more than 11 times greater than Romney's.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and a co-founder of the Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital, has received strong support from Wall Street to fill his campaign coffers.
He has received $6 of every $10 contributed to a presidential candidate by securities and investment industry employees and their families, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group that tracks campaign giving.
Through Jan. 31, they had given $6.6 million to Romney, including $521,180 from Goldman employees and their families, and $2.3 million to Obama.