Obama’s Chief of Staff Pick Took Campaign Contributions from Wall Street

By Fred Lucas | November 6, 2008 | 6:26 PM EST

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) with Sol Schatz of the VFW, Thomas Lonze of the State of Illinois, James O’Rourke of the American Legion and Sen. Dick Durbin discussing the Welcome Home GI Bill. (Photo courtesy of congressional website)

(CNSNews.com) – President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for White House chief of staff is one of the biggest recipients of Wall Street money in Congress, according to a Washington, D.C.-based “money-in-politics” watchdog group.
 
The Center for Responsive Politics has issued a report highlighting millions of dollars in campaign contributions that Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) has raised from individuals working in the hedge fund industry, private equity firms, and large investment firms.
 
Emanuel has raised more money from individuals and political action committees in securities and investment businesses than from any other industry.
 
This comes after a presidential campaign that saw Obama frequently criticize Wall Street and blamed lack of government regulations for the economic crisis that hit the country in mid-September.
 
Emanuel, a former Clinton White House aide, is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and received much of the credit for the Democrats winning a majority in the House of Representatives in 2006 – the first time in 12 years.
 
For his own 2006 re-election campaign, where he faced no serious opposition, Emanuel raised $1.5 million from the investment industry. His other sources of contributions came from lawyers, who gave $682,900, while people working in the entertainment industries gave $376,100.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) (Photo courtesy of congressional website)

Though Obama did not accept contributions directly from lobbyists during his campaign, Washington lobbyists have given Emanuel $136,640 since he was elected.
 
Emanuel is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which overseas tax legislation, making him “a popular industry target,” the report said.
 
Employees from private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners contributed $93,600 to his various campaigns since he was first elected to Congress in 2002.
 
Emanuel, who worked as an investment banker after President Bill Clinton left the White House, was elected to Congress in 2002. He has a net worth of between $5 million and $13.2 million, according to his 2007 financial disclosure form.
 
Other top contributors to Emanuel’s campaigns have been employees of UBS, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, also financial sources for Obama’s presidential campaign.