Barclays employees boost Romney campaign

Associated Press + More

By ROBERT BARR, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — The former chief executive of Barclays dropped out of Mitt Romney's Thursday night fundraiser in London, but Bob Diamond had already sent a check for $2,500.

So have 82 others who listed their employer as Barclays or Barclays Capital on U.S. Federal Election Commission records, including two who gave the $2,500 maximum to the Romney campaign both in 2011 and 2012.

And one guy gave the maximum to Barack Obama.

The role of Barclays bankers as significant contributors to Romney's campaign has drawn attention since Barclays became the first bank to admit that employees were involved in manipulating a key market index, the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR).

Last month, U.S. and British agencies fined Barclays a total of $453 million. After that shock, Diamond resigned and so did Chief Operating Officer Jerry del Missier. Chairman Marcus Agius has said he will resign as soon as his successor is chosen.

The Barclays donors to Romney all listed addresses in the United States, where Barclays Capital has expanded its presence since the credit crisis with the acquisition of Lehman Brothers' U.S. assets.

According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C., the financial sector has smiled on Romney. The center says that people linked to Goldman Sachs top the list at $636,000, followed by JP Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, Bank of American and Credit Suisse Group.

The center said that a Barclays executive stands at the top of the pile of "bundlers," people who solicit large numbers of contributions and send them on in a lump sum to a campaign. Patrick J. Durkin, managing director for Barclays Capital, has drummed up more than $1.1 million for Romney, it said.

According to FEC records, Durkin, a registered lobbyist for Barclays, personally contributed $2,500 to the campaign last year and $25,000 this year to Romney's "victory fund," which is subject to a higher maximum of $30,800 per election, whether a primary or the general election.

Reports of Barclays' links to the Romney campaign drew the attention of some members of Britain's House of Commons, who called on "Barclays and its executives to cease fundraising for political candidates immediately and to concentrate entirely on repairing confidence and trust in the banking system instead."

The demand came in the form of an early day motion backed by 11 legislators. Such motions rarely result in action but are a forum for expressing opinion.

In a letter to the legislators, Barclays vice-chairman Cyrus Ardalan said any involvement in political campaigns was limited to individuals.

"Barclays is politically non-partisan, makes no political donations nor seeks to influence the political activities of its employees," Ardalan wrote.

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AP Washington writer Jack Gillum contributed to this report.

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