Lawyers Invest in 2004 Campaign

Posted July 22, 2003 at 5:19pm

The latest presidential fundraising numbers are in and — surprise! — some of the nation’s biggest industries were among the top supporters of President Bush, while trial lawyers gave generously to the leading Democratic presidential candidates. [IMGCAP(1)]

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 12 of Bush’s top 20 contributors are on Wall Street, such as Merrill Lynch, whose employees gave more money to the president’s re-election efforts than anyone else.

The $264,750 that Bush banked from Merrill Lynch employees in the past few months was more than Bush’s top financial backer in 2000 — MBNA — contributed in the entire cycle.

Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal is a Bush ‘Ranger,” committed to raising $200,000 or more for the 2004 campaign.

Lehman Brothers was the second-largest contributor to Bush, followed by the Texas law firm Haynes & Boone.

Overall, Bush raised $1.7 million from

Wall Street. But that’s no surprise: The

president scheduled one of his earliest fundraisers in New York.

Meanwhile, Democrats drew heavily on lawyers and law firms, according to the center’s data.

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), a former trial lawyer himself, hauled in $6.2 million from lawyers and law firms — more than anybody else — and more than 20 times as much as Edwards raised from his second-largest benefactors, the financial services industry.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) demonstrated strong attraction in Hollywood, raising more than anyone else — $313,000 — from the entertainment industry.

Kerry’s top financial backers, legal interests, gave $2.1 million to his campaign.

Among others, Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) brought in $1.3 million and $873,000, respectively, from lawyers and law firms.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) took a different approach. Five of Dean’s top givers were employees of universities, such as the University of California system, whose employees gave him nearly $26,000.

Class Action Action. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, one of the largest dispensers of lobbying cash on K Street, has hired O’Melveny & Myers to lobby on class-action legislation on the Hill, according to lobbying filings culled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com.

L.A. Confidential. James Lee Witt, who led the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Clinton administration, and his emergency management consulting outfit, James Lee Witt Associates, will be assisting Los Angeles County, Calif., in all matters relating to disaster recovery management, according to lobbying filings.

The county, which encompasses the city of Los Angeles, countless suburbs and millions of residents between Long Beach and the Mojave Desert, is also the home of many potential disasters, including earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires and tsunamis.

Alaska, Energy and Lundquist. The lobbying firm of Andrew Lundquist, the former director of the White House’s national energy task force, is lobbying on behalf of the state of Alaska, according to lobbying filings.

Lundquist’s former boss, then-Sen. Frank Murkowski (R), is now the governor of the Last Frontier. Lundquist was the former Senator’s staff director when he was chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. His firm, the Lundquist Group, also signed on BP Amoco to lobby on fuel-related issues before Congress.

Banking on America. Jason Poblete, former aide to House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), has registered to lobby for Bank of America on general matters affecting the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank on Capitol Hill.

Poblete, who served as spokesman and then senior adviser to Thomas, is now a lobbyist at Reed Smith.

Buy America? The GOP-heavy Federalist Group has signed up two new defense contractors with a lot at stake in language in the Defense authorization bill that would steer Pentagon contracts toward U.S. companies.

The firm signed up EADS North America, the U.S.-based division of one of the largest defense contractors in Europe, and Armour of America, another defense contractor.

The Federalist Group is led by Republicans Stewart Hall and John Green, who once worked for Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), respectively.

A Lobbying Debut. One of Washington’s newest high-octane lobbying firms, Sundquist Pryor Boland Reeves & Cloud, has disclosed its first client — the Greater Columbus (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce.

The business group hired the firm to help steer federal dollars its way as Congress takes up the bills to authorize transportation and airport spending.

The firm was founded by former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist (R), former Sen. David Pryor (D-Ark.) and former Rep. Beryl Anthony (D-Ark.).

McCain Aide Scores More Clients. Mark Buse, a former top aide to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz), has brought in two more clients.

According to lobbying disclosure forms, Buse has signed up United Parcel Service and National City Corp.

Buse, who once served as McCain’s staff director on the powerful Commerce Committee, will help guide UPS as legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration takes off.