President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser made a significant change in his political support after Democrats moved to shake up Wall Street.
As first reported by Zach Carter , Ben Walsh , and Christina Wilkie at The Huffington Post , National Economic Council director Gary Cohn was a long-time donor to Democrats before he flipped on a dime in 2009 and exclusively supported Republicans.
The sudden switch of support coincided with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, a sweeping set of reforms for the financial industry intended to make banks safer in the wake of the financial crisis, as The Huffington Post pointed out.
Prior to 2009, Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs president and COO, donated for more than a decade to Democratic candidates and groups, according to a database from the Center for Responsive Politics .
Among the Democratic recipients were Sen. Chuck Schumer, now the Senate minority leader, in 1997; a $10,000 donation to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 1998; donations to three different campaigns for Hillary Clinton in 2000, 2005, and 2007; a competing donation to Barack Obama in 2007; and two donations of $28,500 and $27,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
The only Republican Cohn donated to while at Goldman prior to December 2009 was a one-time, $2,000 contribution to Sen. Mike Crapo in 2004. He did not donate to any Republican political action committees during that period.
The Dodd-Frank regulation was introduced in June 2009. It curtailed the ability of large banks like Goldman to make riskier investments and imposed significant restrictions on those banks.
Starting in December 2009, when revised legislation was introduced in Senate and House committees, Cohn’s donations shifted significantly. He donated $4,800 to Sen. Dick Shelby in December and began to pour significantly more money into Republican efforts.
Among the new recipients included former House Speaker Rep. Eric Cantor in 2010 and 2013, former Sen. Scott Brown in 2011, Sen. Marco Rubio in 2011, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, and Sen. Tom Cotton in 2015.
Nearly all of Cohn’s donations to political action committees also switched parties – including $5,000 to Every Republican is Crucial in 2012, $5,000 to the Freedom Fund in 2012, $30,800 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2012, and $33,400 to the National Republican Congressional Committe in 2015.
Cohn did continue to donate to a few Democratic campaigns over this time period, but not as heavily as Republican candidates and PACs.