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How FinServ Funding Influences The Election

The Iowa caucus dust may be barely settled, but one force may continue to be a powerful one, regardless of the eventual nominees of either U.S. political party: Wall Street.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday (Feb. 1) that campaign finance reports newly filed with the Federal Election Commission hint at just how pervasive Wall Street funding has become — and this comes even as several candidates have spent time (and money) distancing themselves from The Street.

In fact, noted WSJ, super PACs, short for political action committees, have gotten as much as a third of their donations directly from financial services honchos, as calculated by research from Center for Responsive Politics.

That one-third tally is up from the roughly 20 percent that came from Wall Street executives in 2012.

Among noteworthy disclosures: Republican Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio, hailing from Florida, has seen his super PAC get more than half of its funding from the financial industry, with two donors sticking out — hedge fund investors Paul Singer and Ken Griffin, who gave $2.5 million each to the super PAC headed into the end of 2015.

Two super PACs tied to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz grabbed at least $21 million in the latest quarter, also from hedge fund players.

The outsized impact from finance players does not stop at the political aisle but crosses it. Democratic frontrunner, headed into Iowa, Hillary Clinton has seen her super PAC grab $7 million from billionaire George Soros, with several millions of dollars more coming from other wealthy donors.

As WSJ noted, Wall Street cash into the coffers may belie a conflict of sorts, where voters are seeking outsider candidates (looking for Donald Trump, anyone?).

All told, according to Center for Responsive Politics, money that came from banks, real estate firms and insurers made up as much as $115 million of the $290 million raised cumulatively by super PACS.

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