Helped by his deep roots and storied past in the New York area, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley is first among presidential candidates in terms of pulling in contribution money from employees of the nation's five biggest bank holding companies.
Living up to his nickname, "Dollar" Bill, which he acquired during his years with the championship New York Knicks basketball team, not the U.S. Senate, Mr. Bradley appears to be benefiting from both geography and a perception that Wall Street would gain a friend in the White House if he were to win.
Employees at the five largest banking companies, led by those at Citigroup Inc., gave $577,715 to the Bradley campaign in 1999.
"His relationship with Wall Street has always been good," said Tony Raymond, a former Federal Elections Commission officer and co-founder of FECinfo, which compiled the data.
"It's been a long time since you've had a viable candidate from the Northeast," Mr. Raymond added.
George W. Bush ranked second among bank employee contributions, with $187,010 at the end of the year. He was followed by Al Gore, who received $88,180 in contributions from employees at the five largest banking companies, and John McCain, who raised $27,675.
Total contributions from these banks' employees are probably much higher, since a large portion of the contributors to all four candidates did not specify their employer. Texas Gov. Bush's campaign, for instance, received over $22 million from individuals who did not reveal their employer. The totals do not include money donated by an individual's spouse or child.
Still, the data underline the influence banks with a strong profile in securities and investment banking are having on the campaign.
Of the $105,200 contributed by Citigroup employees to Bill Bradley's campaign, 83% came from individuals at Salomon Smith Barney, the company's brokerage and investment bank.
Among those at Citigroup who donated to the Bradley campaign were co-chief executive officer Sanford I. Weill - no stranger to Democratic causes - and his son and chief investment officer Marc Weill, as well as former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, who is now a member of the office of the chairman at the company.
Employees at J.P. Morgan, where Mr. Bradley served as an adviser on international issues after leaving the Senate in 1997, were the second-largest contributor to the Bradley campaign. Morgan employees gave $57,700 to Mr. Bradley and $19,750 to Gov. Bush's campaign.
Employees at Hambrecht & Quist, the investment boutique acquired by Chase Manhattan Corp. late last year, also pushed total contributions toward the Bradley campaign. Chase staff gave $56,600 to Mr. Bradley, of which $15,000 came from Hambrecht executives. Chase employees also contributed to $39,310 to Gov. Bush's campaign, but Hambrecht & Quist's staff were less generous to Mr. Bush, contributing $6,000 to his campaign.
"It was a good year for Wall Street, so there was more money to give," Mr. Raymond said.
Bank of America employees were the No. 2 contributors to the four major candidates in 2000 race of those at the five largest bank companies. Employees of Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp. gave more money to Gov. Bush than to any other candidate, contributing $57,600 to his campaign. They donated $47,100 to their second pick for president, Mr. Bradley.
Bank One Corp. employees were the least active contributors, giving a total of about $13,000 to the top four candidates.