Edward F. Cox, the head of the corporate department at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler who is the head of McCain’s campaign in New York, said the Arizona senator lagged behind the two Democrats because “Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York by 2.5 to 1, and the New York bar is particularly Democrat oriented.”

But Cox, who is married to Patricia Nixon, the daughter of former President Richard Nixon, said the Republicans plan to target the New York legal community for both fundraising and political organizing in the fall campaign.


Even though Clinton led Obama in law-sector donations in New York, the reverse was the case nationwide, according to data on the Center for Responsive Politics’ Web site. Nationwide, Obama had raised $17.3 million from those who either listed “lawyer” as their occupation or identified their employer as being a law firm.

Clinton trailed slightly, reporting $16.6 million, and McCain trailed, reporting $5 million.

Of the 20 sectors of the economy listed on the center’s Web site, “lawyers/law firms” had top billing for both the Obama and Clinton campaigns. That category was No. 2 for McCain’s campaign, surpassed only by donations from individuals listing themselves as retired.

Overall, the Obama campaign reported having raised $265.4 million; Clinton, $214.9 million; and McCain, $96.7 million.

The report by the Center for Responsive Politics is based on records that political campaigns are required to report to the Federal Election Commission concerning all donors who contribute more than $200. The center conducted an electronic search of the reports filed with the commission to aggregate for each presidential campaign donors from New York state who work in the legal profession.

Chart: Contributions from New York-Based Staff by Party

The maximum a donor can contribute to any presidential campaign is $4,600, reflecting a limit of $2,300 for each of the primary and general election campaigns. Candidates, other than McCain and Obama, must return any amounts raised from individual donors in excess of $2,300.


The center’s report for the Law Journal also listed the 10 firms whose employees based in New York contributed the most to presidential primary campaigns in the past two years. In all, 22 candidates filed with the Federal Election Commission, declaring they were running for president, and 19 of them reported receiving contributions from the legal sector in New York.

The list was topped by Sullivan & Cromwell, whose lawyers and other employees donated $338,682. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom was only $2,000 behind, with its lawyers and other workers giving $336,508.

Those associated with Skadden gave more to both Obama and Clinton than individuals at any other New York firm, with Clinton receiving $149,436 and Obama, $104,348.

Chart: Top Law Firm Contributors

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