The Wall Street giants that received a financial lifeline from Washington may have no compunction about paying big bonuses to their dealmakers and traders. But their willingness to deliver “thank you” gifts to President Obama and the Democrats is another question altogether.
“There are sensitivities there,” said Scott Talbot, a lobbyist for the industry’s Financial Services Roundtable. Political contributions “can make a donor a target,” Mr. Talbot said. Many involved, though, say the low attendance from those Wall Street giants also reflected a broader disenchantment with Mr. Obama over the angry language emanating from the White House over the million-dollar bonuses and anti-regulatory lobbying.
“There is some failure in the finance industry to appreciate the level of public antagonism toward whatever Wall Street symbolizes,” said Orin Kramer, a partner in an investment firm who is a Democratic fund-raiser and one of the event’s chairmen. “But in order to save the capitalist system, the administration has to be responsive to the public mood, and that is a nuance which can get lost on Wall Street.”