Politics & Government

Wall Street is backing Whitman in California's gubernatorial race

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was leading a triumphant rally at the state GOP convention last month when she announced that New Yorkers were excited about the California governor's race.

At a fundraiser she held in New York, Whitman said she met with people who "have suffered the financial reforms that are going to crimp our ability to raise capital, and they want California to turn the corner."

Whitman's Democratic rival, Jerry Brown, and his supporters pounced on the remark, saying it proved that "Wall Street Whitman" was looking out more for captains of industry than the average Californian toughing out the recession.

Democrats have long accused Republicans of being beholden to big business, but the rhetoric is extra loud this year because Whitman, the former CEO of online auction firm eBay, claims longtime ties to the nation's financial sector.

She made more than $1 billion, largely from eBay stock, and spent more than a year on the board of investment bank Goldman Sachs, for which she received $475,000 in stock and options.

Now the financial industry has lined up behind her gubernatorial campaign.

According to a Bee estimate, investment banks and firms, private investors, financial advisers, venture capitalists and even the chairman of the Federal Reserve in San Francisco have poured $4.7 million into her effort, more than a fifth of total outside contributions she's received. Whitman has also given her campaign $104 million of her own money.

The industry has been less generous to Brown, who has received about $1 million from the sector.

To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.

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