Goldman Issues Strong Sell On Obama As Firm Refuses To Vote With Its Wallet
Confirming a move that will surprise exactly no one, the firm which is best known in the world for two things: i) arbitraging the gullibility of its clients, and ii) flipflopping faster than anyone when the narrative demands it, the WSJ reports that Goldman Sachs has mutated from Obama's biggest financial backer 4 years ago on Wall Street, to one of the most stingiest firms. "Employees at Goldman donated more than $1 million to Mr. Obama when he first ran for president. This election, they have given the president's campaign $136,000—less than Mr. Obama has collected from employees of the State Department. The employees have contributed nothing to the leading Democratic super PAC supporting his re-election. By contrast, Goldman employees have given Mr. Romney's campaign $900,000, plus another $900,000 to the super PAC founded to help him." In other words Goldman has just voted with their wallets, and the bottom line is "Strong Sell" with price target One Term.
From the WSJ:
When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, no major U.S. corporation did more to finance his campaign than Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
This election, none has done more to help defeat him.
Prompted by what they call regulatory attacks on their business and personal attacks on their character, executives and employees of Goldman Sachs have largely abandoned Mr. Obama and are now the top sources of money to presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.
Underscoring the magnitude of the reversal, Goldman has been the No. 1 source of campaign cash to Democrats among companies during the 23 years the Center for Responsive Politics has been collecting such data.
In interviews with more than a dozen past and current Goldman executives, many said they felt betrayed by Democratic lawmakers and the White House, for years considered friendly allies. Several Goldman executives said they didn't want to speak out publicly against the president, and that their donations speak for themselves.
Jim Donovan, a banker formerly in charge of Goldman's relations with Bain & Co., the private-equity firm run by Mr. Romney, helped draw his colleagues' attention to the GOP candidate. "As a longtime friend to Mitt and Ann, I can attest that his conviction and strength on fixing the U.S. economy is compelling as are his values," said Mr. Donovan, who handles Mr. Romney's personal investments. "That is why there has been such a strong outpouring of support for Mitt from all sectors."
What is ironic is that even people as supposedly as sophisticated as Goldman employees are totally confused:
Resentments against the White House began, said senior Goldman executives, because the firm thought it would be consulted when the Obama administration began crafting regulations in response to the financial crisis. They weren't. Instead, they were surprised by a measure dubbed the Volcker rule, which would damage one of Goldman's lucrative businesses.
Goldman executives, especially those who had raised millions of dollars for Mr. Obama's election, said they were offended by the president's populist rhetoric, including his famous quip about "fat cat bankers."
The reason for the confusion is that Goldmanites of all should know that what Obama has spoken and what he has done, are two totally different things. And when it comes to what he has done, Wall Street could not be happier. As a reminder, in 2009 Wall Street bonuses were one of the biggest on record. In other words, Obama merely perpetuated the pro-Wall Street policies adopted by his predecessor.
The other reason for the confusion is that if Goldman wants to lobby for someone, it would be for the Bernanke opponent at the Fed, because the only person whose opinion matters vis-a-vis Goldman year end bonuses now is not on Pennsylvania Avenue but in the Marriner Eccles building, and the longer he implements central planning, the lower the faith and confidence in the markets, the less the participation and muppet trading, the lower bonuses for all those at 200 West. It really is as simple as that.
Ironically, the confusion is not only at Goldman. It is everywhere on Wall Street, which for once has reprised the role of the muppet in confusing just who really calls the shots.
Since the Center for Responsive Politics began tracking campaign donations by company employees in 1989, people at Goldman have given more than $22.4 million to the Democratic Party and its candidates. That is the most among employees of all companies and on par with the largest labor unions. Goldman is between the AFL-CIO, $18.5 million, and the United Auto Workers, $27.5 million—totals that include donations from both employees and the unions. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is the largest contributor to Democrats at $45 million.
In March, the company's CEO, Lloyd C. Blankfein, sent a companywide email to Goldman employees encouraging them to donate to the Goldman PAC, which doesn't give to presidential candidates. Mr. Blankfein has identified himself as a Democrat but hasn't donated much to the party since a $35,000 contribution in 2007.
Goldman president Gary D. Cohn gave $75,000 to Democrats in 2008. In this election season, he has given $35,000—75% to Republicans. Newly named Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz has spent more than 90% of his donations this season on Republicans after a lifetime of Democratic giving.
And so on. For a great visualization of where the money is from from and to, click below: