Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is the latest mainstream Democrat who is tossing his hat in for a 2020 run for the presidency. While Booker is second African-American Democratic candidate in the race and claims he intends to represent all Americans, he appears to be the Democrat who relies most on big bank donors. That won’t sit too well with the Democratic base.
The Center For Responsive Politics compiled data on where Book receives his funding. They uncovered that Booker’s 2014 Senate campaign got $2.8 million from the finance sector. Employees of the country’s biggest banks and law firms contributed to the campaign, the records show.
Goldman Sachs contributed over $80,000, Morgan Stanley over $78,000 and JPMorgan Chase nearly $65,000. Law firms with established securities practices like Paul Weiss and Sullivan & Cromwell also donated over $177,000 and nearly $138,000, respectively.
Compare these numbers to other Democrats who have announced their 2020 candidacy: Sen. Kamala Harris of California raised only $727,674 from Wall Street during her 2016 campaign, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts drew $355,271 in her 2018 campaign.
The only Democrat who comes close to Booker’s reliance on the finance sector is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who raised $1.15 million from Wall Street for her 2018 re-election.
In all fairness, Booker has criticized Wall Street during his time in office. In March, he refused to back a bill that would ease the Dodd-Frank banking rules put in place after the financial crisis of 2009.
“In the wake of the greed- and excess-fueled financial crisis, big banks got a massive bailout while millions of Americans lost their homes,” he said. “We shouldn’t be weakening the very safeguards put in place to prevent such a catastrophe from repeating itself.”
Nonetheless, it will be difficult for Booker to make the argument that he will represent all Americans and not be tied to special interests or be a slave to Wall Street when he is so clearly literally banking on the banks.