NY-14: Oh Please, Reshma

In an article on Michael J. Fox’s support for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (a founder of the Congressional Parkinson’s Caucus), Daily News writer Celese Katz accurately described challenger Reshma Saujani’s fundraising like so:

Maloney already has the backing of President Obama and much of the Democratic establishment in her bid to keep representing the 14th CD, while Saujani is relying on Wall Street cash – and her status as a political newcomer – to woo voters.

Katz then posted an update:

Update: Team Saujani begs to differ on the Wall Street issue: “Reshma is not relying on Wall Street cash – she’s relying on the more than 1,200 donors from all walks of life who have contributed to her grassroots campaign. Unlike the incumbent, Reshma has not accepted – and will not accept – any PAC donations or corporate special interest contributions to fund her campaign,” said spokesman James Allen.

This whine, however, is utterly misleading. I combed through Saujani’s April FEC report and marked every donation that came from someone who works in finance. Out of the $401K Saujani raised in Q1, $148K came from hedge fund analysts, investment bankers, and, oh, the occasional chairman of your major Wall Street institution, like Morgan Stanley’s John Mack. (I also included JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s wife, Judy.) You can double-check my work here. Note that I played it conservatively, so if I couldn’t locate a company on Google, I didn’t mark that person. And for all I know, some of the “self-employed” people are retired asset managers sitting at home trading their multi-million dollar personal accounts.

Anyhow, I guess you could say that Saujani would still have raised $250K without Wall Street cash. And I suppose it’s a campaign’s job to quibble with words like “relying on.” But the fact is that over a third of Saujani’s last fundraising haul came from people who work in finance. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! If anything, I’d think Saujani – whose campaign seems centered around the notion that Dems are too mean to Wall Street – should embrace her donors.

14 thoughts on “NY-14: Oh Please, Reshma”

  1. It’s a really unfair critic. Of course she raises money from people who work on Wall Street. That’s because people who work on Wall Street LIVE and WORK in NY-14!

    It’s one thing for a candidate in Arkansas to raise money from Wall Street (then they are getting it from outsiders). It’s another thing when those people who work in finace give to their local congress person. Saying candidates like Saujani or Maloney raise lots of money from people who work in finace is like saying a candidate from Redmond, WA raises lots of money from Microsoft.

    Better question is why is Caroyln Maloney raising money from the National Rural Electrification Committee? What part of the Upper East Side of Manhattan needs electrification? Maloney’s contributors are a whose who of PACs and lobbyist.

    At least Saujani is playing to her hometown industry (even if that industry is being demonized elsewhere). It’s easy to rail against “greedy bankers” in Iowa. It’s quite another to run against them when the bankers make up a big part of the electorate.

    I understand what Saujani’s campaign strategy is. I think it makes sense for where she is running. It’s an uphill battle to beat an incumbent Dem in a primary In NYC. Media market here is crazy expensive and congressional races get practically zero media coverage. Let’s see if running on a platform of being an advocate of the industry works.

  2. It took me several clicks to determine Saujani is a Democrat running against Maloney in the primary.  Could you guys make it clearer about whether a “challenger” is a primary or general election challenger?  It would help for those of us who’ve never heard of these people.

    (And yes, the NY Daily News link didn’t say either.)

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