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Having bought the government, Goldman Sachs shuts down its Versailles desk

This is interesting from Bloomberg:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N), legendary for its clout in Washington, has inexplicably halted its political fund-raising machine.

The strange twist comes at a time when Wall Street's biggest and most powerful investment bank, nicknamed Government Sachs by critics, seems in other respects to be just as politically involved as ever.

By all accounts, its senior executives are in close contact with Washington regulators, the lobbyists on its payroll include some of the best connected, and it continues to spend heavily to influence government.

Yet one key prong of its assault on the Capitol has been oddly neglected lately: Campaign finance filings show its federal political action committee (PAC) has not taken a penny from employees in more than a year and has a balance of just $25,483 -- pocket change for a Goldman banker.

Why Goldman -- whose alumni include many who have held high positions in the federal government -- abruptly stopped tapping its employees for political money is a mystery. A Goldman spokeswoman would only say, "We have a PAC and we plan to continue to have a PAC."

Critics believe Goldman might be operating under the belief that it has all the political influence it needs.

During the 2008 election cycle, Goldman was the top corporate giver, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, which tracked more than $6 million in political contributions back to the bank. Goldman strongly supported candidates from the Democratic party, according to the Center. ...

While Goldman's PAC has gone silent this year, employees have contributed directly to campaigns and candidates to the tune of about $200,000, according to the Center. This is significantly more than has been directly contributed by JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley employees, the center said.

Goldman has also spent $1.3 million to lobby Washington in the first two quarters of 2009, according to regulatory filings.

Or maybe they're bearish on the Dems. Who knows?

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