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Lifelong Republican Robert Pennoyer has become a leading fund-raiser for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in New York, having raised more than $250,000. “The outpouring of support has been stupendous,” said Pennoyer, a counsel at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler. Pennoyer, 80, started his legal career in the Justice and Defense Departments in the Eisenhower administration. Infuriated with President George W. Bush, he switched parties in 2001. As a lawyer, Pennoyer is far from alone in his fund-raising effort: Attorneys have contributed more to both parties than any professional group nationwide. Contributions are still coming in, and final numbers will not be available until after the election. But New York’s lawyers have raised well over $2 million for Democratic nominee John Kerry. That is the amount raised by a lawyers’ committee, which has no GOP counterpart. Democrats are outpacing Republicans in the state. In all, New York lawyers have donated $2.7 million to Mr. Kerry and $945,000 to President Bush. Some of the leaders in New York have been long-time Democratic supporters who have ratcheted up their efforts through a statewide committee. Others have raised funds along different avenues. Like the larger electorate, they cite increased interest in the hotly contested election, an interest reflected by the growing contributions that have already topped the totals achieved fours years ago. Lawyers have always been large contributors to political campaigns. Since 1990, they have topped the list of donors in every election. This year promises to be no different, with lawyers and law firms contributing $112 million to both campaigns as of Aug. 2, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group. During the past 14 years, Democrats have been the prime beneficiaries of lawyer donations, bringing in 72 percent of the total. In dollar terms, that has meant a $254 million advantage over Republicans in congressional and presidential elections. The 2000 campaign was an exception. Bush received more campaign dollars from lawyers than his opponent, Al Gore. It was a marked change from the previous two campaigns. Bill Clinton raised twice as much from lawyers as the senior Bush in 1992. In 1996, he had nearly three times Bob Dole’s contributions from lawyers. This year, Democrats are back on top of the lawyer-contribution list. The Massachusetts senator and his running mate, Sen.John Edwards of North Carolina, have received $23.2 million from lawyers, according to the latest available figures, 1.7 times the $13.6 million for President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. For both Sens. Kerry and Edwards, lawyers as a group are the leading contributors, according to the center. LAWYERS COMMITTEE The heightened fund-raising activity nationally is clearly reflected in New York. The activity is skewed heavily to the Democratic side. There is no state Republican committee of lawyers comparable to the one that has raised more than $2 million for Kerry. Called the Committee of New York Lawyers for Kerry-Edwards, it is co-chaired by Laraine Rothenberg of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and Douglas Dunham of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Rothenberg said she did little fund raising in the past, donating a modest amount to Gore in 2000 and hosting a party at her home for Sen. Hillary Clinton. Dunham helped lead similar committees in 1996 and 2000. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming support,” said Rothenberg. She said she is motivated by her opposition to the president’s stance on judicial appointments and civil rights, among other issues. The lawyers’ committee meets regularly with representatives of the Kerry campaign. Individual lawyers take the initiative in raising funds through a “loose arrangement” with Kerry’s advisors, Dunham said. Lawyers interviewed for this article said that they notified their firms about their fund-raising efforts and solicited individual attorneys who they thought would be amenable to donating to the Kerry campaign. In large part, fund raising is an individual effort, said Dunham, with some cooperation from firms that have a significant number of interested attorneys. Fund-raisers have reached out to people outside the profession as well, sending e-mail messages and making calls to friends and colleagues. Most events are smaller affairs at people’s homes. Rothenberg has arranged for house parties hosted by individual attorneys through her network of contacts that include alumni from Columbia University Law School, where she now serves on the Board of Visitors, and law professors based in New York. Aside from soliciting contributions from attorneys, leaders of the committee get involved in planning large fund-raising events. Rothenberg recruited colleagues and friends to attend the July 8 fund-raising concert in Radio City Music Hall that brought in $7.5 million, according to news reports. DIVERSE SUPPORT According to the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, most of the top fund-raisers in the state work in law firms based in New York City. There are exceptions. Eliot Hawkins of Teahan & Constantino in Dutchess County has raised more than $50,000, according to Public Citizen. “I think this one is as significant an election as there has been in a lifetime,” said the 72-year-old trusts and estates lawyer. Nor have all the leading fund-raisers worked strictly through the Lawyers for Kerry committee. Gregory Weiss, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, attended Yale with Kerry and supports him now. In late 2003, he hosted a fund-raiser at the Yale Club when Kerry’s primary campaign appeared to be faltering. Together with other classmates, he organized a Yale ’66 group that has collected between $100,000 and $200,000, he said. Judith Selby of Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione co-chairs the Gay and Lesbian steering group in New York. While her firm, which is politically active in New Jersey, has been supportive, she said, the majority of her donors come from outside the legal profession. Selby hosted an event in her apartment and raised an additional $50,000 for a Kerry gala in April, bringing her fund-raising total to a significant milestone. “I’m in the $100,000 club, I’m happy to say,” she said.

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