October 15, 2008

Obama’s Donations in a Class of Their Own

Who donates to Obama? Apparently lawyers do – a lot. Law.com reports that “D.C.’s top law firms have given the Democratic presidential nominee more than triple the cash they’ve donated to Republican Sen. John McCain.” According to the article, four years ago those firms gave $936,000 to the Kerry-Edwards campaign, but that has been topped by the nearly $1.5 million the Obama campaign has received from Big Law in DC.

The article goes on to analyze the reasons behind the incredible support for Obama:
“Obama is likely benefiting from his own legal background: He’s a former president of the Harvard Law Review, Sidley Austin summer associate, and professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. And it’s logical for lawyers to be drawn to the campaigns, since a number of issues appeal specifically to the legal-minded, says Kevin Wolf, a partner in Bryan Cave ’s D.C. office. For example, ’Who’s on the next Supreme Court? As a lawyer, I think that’s a very important topic,’ says Wolf, who, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, has bundled as much as $100,000 in contributions for the Obama campaign.”

The Obama advantage across the country is equally striking. While the category of lawyers/law firms holds top positions among in the benefactors of both campaigns, opensecrets.org reveals that $9.3 million has been given to McCain, compared to the $27.7 million which has landed in Obama’s coffers.

There’s little doubt that the makeup of the courts is a top election issue among lawyers. The more interesting question is what the large left-leaning lawyer support will mean for Barack Obama if he’s elected president.