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Democrat candidates take lion's share of hedge fund campaign contributions

Candidates vying for the Democratic Party nomination for next year's US presidential election have taken around three-quarters of the campaign contributions made by hedge fund managers, according to an analysis of federal filings in the first quarter of 2007 by Absolute Return magazine and the Center for Responsive Politics.

All told, leading hedge funds have given USD1.1m so far to the 2008 presidential hopefuls, according to the study, which was based on the top 100 firms that make up Absolute Return's 'Billion Dollar Club', released in March, and public campaign contribution records.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the biggest beneficiary was Christopher Dodd, a US senator from the hedge fund management hotbed of Connecticut and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, who attracted almost a third of the total at USD347,300. John Edwards, who was Al Gore's running mate in 2000, came in second, raising USD190,650.

Dodd and Edwards were aided by the support of SAC Capital Advisors and Fortress Investment Group, the top hedge fund donors during the first quarter. Fortress gave a total of USD226,350, including USD182,250 to Edwards, while the vast majority of SAC's USD211,700 - USD209,600 - went to Dodd.
New York Senator Hillary Clinton was in third place with USD164,600 in contributions from hedge fund managers, while Barack Obama of Illinois raised USD119,300. The top Republican in terms of hedge fund contributions was former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who raised USD124,200.
The other members of the top 10 hedge fund campaign donors were Farallon Capital Management, Avenue Capital Group, Elliott Associates, Taconic Capital Advisors, York Capital Management, Bridgewater Associates, Highbridge Capital Management and DE Shaw.

The survey found that SAC, Avenue and Taconic gave money only to Democrats, while Elliott and Bridgewater gave only to Republicans. The most even-handed manager was Highbridge, which gave USD11,250 to Democrats and USD17,900 to Republicans.

Other notable individual contributions included USD59,800 for Clinton from Farallon, USD52,200 for Giuliani from Elliott, USD32,100 for John McCain from Bridgewater and USD25,300 for Obama from York.

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