Risk & Compliance

Biden’s CFO Contributors Are a Tiny Group

In a look at federal campaign contribution data, only 11 finance executives report having given to the vice presidential contender's campaigns.
Kate PlourdAugust 26, 2008

Long-time Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden has had a relatively small following among political contributors who are CFOs — especially compared to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, who recently chose him as his running mate.

Since the 2004 presidential election, a mere 11 finance chiefs have donated money to either Biden’s 2006 Senate race or his 2008 run for the presidency, according to Federal Election Commission data complied by CQ Money line.

On the other hand, 316 CFOs have put $329,255 behind Illinois Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign, based on FEC data up to July 31, 2008. So far, Republican presidential challenger Sen. John McCain has raked in $242,865 from 144 different CFOs during his presidential campaign.

The numbers have grown sharply in recent months, of course. The tally for Obama reported on CFO.com in February, during his fight for the nomination with New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, showed Obama with 76 CFO supporters, having contributed $87,999, considerably less than the contribution level for Sen. Clinton.

Like his running mate, Biden is far from draining the treasuries of corporate political action committees. Only one percent of his contributions come from PACs, whereas Obama has sworn off donations from PACs all together.

Of Biden’s PAC contributions, $15,000 comes from financial businesses and $13,000 from the telecommunication industry — chipped in for the Delaware senator’s presidential campaign. The PACs for insurance and financial services firm American Insurance Group and for Bank of America credit card issuer MBNA each donated $5,000 to the Biden bid. His other corporate PAC contributors include T-mobile, Citizens Financial, credit card issuer Advanta Corp., Pragmatics, Harrah’s, and eBay.

The legal community is by far the biggest backer of former lawyer Biden. Nine PACs for law firms donated $31,470 to his presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008. And, according to data complied by the Center for Responsive Politics, in Biden’s entire career lawyers and law firms have donated $6,567,404. (The legal industry also make up Sen. Obama’s largest career contribution segment, giving $21,746,468 throughout his career.)

One individual lawyer who supported Biden in 2008 may have some familiarity in the finance community: Michelle Ciccarelli, the San Diego-based attorney at Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP, who represented victims of the Enron fraud, is also married to recently jailed securities litigator William Lerach. She donated $2,300 to Biden’s White House bid. She gave the same amount, however, to Sen. Clinton and to North Carolina Sen. John Edwards during their runs for the White House.

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