If the temperature in Washington is determined by the smell of money, then this summer is very hot indeed.


The rich are not happy.

Major political action committees and employees of the nation's largest business empires have dramatically shifted their money to the right. A detailed analysis of 2010 campaign cycle contributions by the Houston Chronicle shows that Republicans are catching up with Senate Democrats in campaign fundraising. Donations to the Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)-led Senate Democratic Campaign Committee (DSCC) have dropped 25 percent this year alone.

"Employees of 126 businesses that had donated money to Senate Democrats in the 2008 campaign have switched all or most of their 2010 contributions to the Republicans, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission reports by the Houston Chronicle," Stewart Powell and Yang Wang report.

Atop the list of those shifting the flow of their fortunes, the reporting duo add, include "prominent Wall Street firms... energy companies, manufacturers, lobbying operations and other groups with a monetary stake in Capitol Hill deliberations."

This isn't a surprise. The majority party often faces the ire of the population-at-large (and businesses) during the midterm election cycle of a new president. Democrats lost seats during the first term of President Bill Clinton.

But even the firm controlled by the brother of Clinton's former chief of staff is shifting their donations in a conservative direction.

"Tony Podesta is one of the best-connected rainmakers in the nation's capital, with a web of personal contacts stretching back 42 years and six Democratic presidential candidates. His brother John was Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff and an adviser on President Barack Obama's transition team," the Chronicle reporters note. "But in an uncharacteristic twist this year, people at Tony Podesta's powerhouse lobbying firm have chosen to donate $32,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee to help its chairman, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, wrest control of the Senate from the Democrats."

Cornyn and his allies have convinced a quarter of the 478 active political action committees that gave to the DSCC in 2008 to cut or eliminate donations to Democrats this year.

The Texan's team has managed to persuade roughly 26 percent of the 478 active political action committees that donated to the DSCC in 2008 to reduce or eliminate donations this year.

Democrats' support in the financial industry has eroded significantly, partly as a result of ire turned on financial services' firm by Democratic lawmakers.

Goldman Sachs, for example, has boosted donations to Senate Republicans by nearly 200 percent.

"We don't comment on our PAC contributions," a spokeswoman told the two reporters.

Cornyn has reduced Senate Democrats' fundraising edge from $68 million in 2008 to $6 million in 2010. This is the narrowest gap in six election seasons, note Powell and Yang.

The big money for the GOP? Texas.

"Texas donors also are a big part of Cornyn's expanded list of donors, with 349 Houstonians making individual contributions to the NRSC," the Houston-based paper notes.