FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- March 4, 2004
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BUSH RAISING CAMPAIGN FUNDS
FROM KERRY'S TOP CONTRIBUTORS
President Bush begins the head-to-head battle for the White House against Sen. John Kerry with a $100 million advantage in fund raising. For that, Bush can thank his incumbent status, his network of fund-raising Pioneers and Rangers -- and several of the top contributors to the Kerry campaign.
Nearly half of Kerry's biggest financial supporters contributed more money to Bush than to Kerry himself through Jan. 30 of this year, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics' study of campaign finance reports filed this month with the Federal Election Commission.
The finding is one of many examples of Bush's fund-raising dominance, and it illustrates how much ground Kerry must make up to approach financial parity with the president. Bush raised a total of $145 million for his re-election effort in the first 13 months of the election cycle, dwarfing Kerry's $33 million.
Kerry's third-largest contributor, Citigroup, gave more than $79,000 in individual and PAC contributions to the presumptive Democratic nominee through January. Louis Susman, Citigroup's vice-chairman, is one of Kerry's biggest fund-raisers. But the financial services giant gave more than $187,000 to the Bush campaign during the same period, good enough for 12th on the president's list of top contributors.
Goldman Sachs contributed nearly $65,000 to Kerry through January, earning it the No. 6 ranking among Kerry's top givers. But the company's employees and PAC sent Bush nearly $283,000 -- more than four times the amount it gave to Kerry. Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson and managing director George Walker are Bush Pioneers who have raised at least $100,000 for the campaign.
Even MassMutual, which ranks among the biggest donors to Kerry over the past 15 years, has contributed more money to Bush than to its home-state senator in the current election cycle. The insurance conglomerate gave $69,000 to Bush through January, compared with slightly more than $50,000 to Kerry. MassMutual CEO Robert O'Connell was a Bush Pioneer in 2000.
In all, nine of Kerry's top 20 donors favor Bush with their contributions. Kerry's top contributor, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, has given nearly $106,000 to his campaign. But the nation's largest law firm has contributed an additional $65,000 to the Bush campaign.
Kerry's No. 2 contributor, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, has been far more lopsided in its giving. The trial law firm has contributed nearly $92,000 to Kerry and just $4,000 to Bush. The firm's chairman, Mike Ciresi, is one of Kerry's top fund-raisers.
Two of Kerry's top donors -- Chicago-based Clifford Law Offices and Hill, Holliday, the Boston-based ad firm -- have given no money to Bush. Bob Clifford of the Clifford Law Offices and Hill, Holliday Chairman Jack Connors are top fund-raisers for Kerry.
Half of Kerry's top contributors through January are law firms. Two-thirds of Bush's top contributors represent the financial sector. Bush's No. 1 financial supporter, with nearly $458,000 in individual and PAC contributions, is Merrill Lynch, the financial services firm that has topped the list of the president's contributors since he first began fund-raising last spring. Second among Bush's top donors is PricewaterhouseCoopers with nearly $430,000 in contributions.