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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

Now that we’re talking conspiracy theories (and see also this striking graph), I thought I’d offer my own favorite, which is that Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers caused the stock market crash in order to benefit the Democrats.

My theory was inspired by this note by John Cassidy in the New Yorker a couple of months before the election:

If Barack Obama is victorious on November 4th, someone on his transition team should send inauguration tickets to Richard Fuld, the chairman and chief executive of Lehman Brothers.

This was meant to be ironic, I believe: Fuld was the straw that broke the camel’s back and brought down the house of cards that was the American banking system etc etc.

But this got me wondering . . . could Cassidy’s statement be literally true??

I remember from talking with Tom Ferguson that, while the superrich generally favor the Republican Party, the financial sector is one area that leans Democratic. So I looked up Richard Fuld and–hey–here he is:

Richard Fuld, Lehman Rothers – Chairman, CEO 1994-present
Total donations since 1978: $208,550
To Democrats: 63%
To Republicans: 16%
To Special Interests: 21%

In 07/08, he was hedging his bets: $10K each to the Republican and Democratic Senatorial Committees, $4600 to Hillary Clinton, $2300 to Barack Obama, $4600 to Chris Dodd, $2300 to John McCain, $2000 to John Reed in Rhode Island, and $10K to the “Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Political Action Committee.”

I was kinda hoping Fuld had only contributed to Obama-–that would make a more interesting story. (Or I suppose if he’d only contributed to Republicans all his life, then there’d be an even better story of Richard S. Fuld, Jr., as a sleeper agent for the Democratic Party.) Still–63% of contributions to Democrats. Makes ya wonder, huh?

P.S. No, I’m not seriously advancing this as a conspiracy theory. It’s more of a reminder of where a lot of the political money is coming from.

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