The chief executives at the big Wall Street banks likely will be noticeably absent from next week's $38,500-a-head dinner/fundraiser for President Obama in New York City, an indication that the heads of the big firms are still hedging their bets before throwing their support to either Republicans or Democrats as the 2012 presidential election approaches, FOX Business has learned.
The fundraiser, to be held at Daniel, a swanky upper-East Side eatery that caters mainly to well-to-do New Yorkers, is being hosted mainly by a coterie of private equity and hedge fund executives, many of them long-time Obama supporters.
But absent from both the list and likely attendance will be the chief executives at banks such as JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Blackrock (NYSE:BLK) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS). The no-shows are in sharp contrast to the situation in 2007, when CEOs and top executives at major banks joined the president at a dinner reception at a Washington restaurant named Johnnys Half Shell.
At that meeting, the Wall Street elite's primary introduction to then-candidate Obama, several top CEOs of major banks, such as Larry Fink, the CEO of Blackrock, and Gary Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, were among the Wall Streeters in attendance. Both are not scheduled to attend next weeks fundraiser.
Following the 2007 meeting, the president went on to vastly out-raise John McCain during the 2008 election cycle and eventually win the presidential election.
Wall Streets no-show status doesnt mean the president will not garner support from top bank executives this time around, but it is an indication that top executives havent decided where to direct their money just yet. Many, like JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon are well known Democrats, but have been critical of the presidents regulatory policies, including his support for the Dodd/Frank financial reform bill, and his verbal attacks against Wall Street bankers, once calling them fat cats.
While Dimon isnt attending the fundraiser, Jes Staley, who heads the JPMorgan investment bank, is scheduled to attend, an indication that Wall Street is still hedging its bets, according to people close to the firm. A spokeswoman said, however, that he may be out of town and could also miss the dinner.
Wall Street is clearly taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the president, said one prominent financial executive. On the negative side for the Republicans, they dont yet have a candidate to contribute to; on the negative side for the president is his rhetoric and just how much the Street hates financial reform.
Press officials at the banks contacted by FOX Business offered several excuses for their CEOs non-attendance, including scheduling conflicts.