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Political Notebook

Wall Street workers lift Boehner campaign

DECORATED HEROES — Sergeant First Class Ryan Ahern, with his wife Gina, kissed his daughter Rhianne, 4, after he and five other members of the US Special Forces were presented the French “Croix de la Valeur militaire” for distinguished service in Afghanistan alongside the French Task Force Lafayette, at a ceremony yesterday in Washington. DECORATED HEROES — Sergeant First Class Ryan Ahern, with his wife Gina, kissed his daughter Rhianne, 4, after he and five other members of the US Special Forces were presented the French “Croix de la Valeur militaire” for distinguished service in Afghanistan alongside the French Task Force Lafayette, at a ceremony yesterday in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/ Associated Press)
July 26, 2011

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WASHINGTON - Since January, House Speaker John Boehner has raised $6.6 million for his campaign committee, six times more than the Ohio Republican received during the same period two years ago when he was the chamber’s minority leader.

Three of the five biggest sources of Boehner’s campaign cash this year are employees of three Wall Street investment houses, a shift from the 2010 election cycle, when such contributors were not ranked among his top 10 donors.

Employees at the New York hedge fund Paulson & Co. contributed $61,050 to Boehner’s campaign account, more than any other company. Moore Capital Management of New York employees gave $53,000, while those at Cantor Fitzgerald donated $45,000.

No one from any of those companies donated to Boehner for his 2010 reelection campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group that tracks political money.

Republican consultant Eddie Mahe said he had no doubt Wall Street has been betting that the House Republican majority would lead the effort to repeal or at least modify the revised financial regulations enacted last year.

Armel Leslie, a spokesman for Paulson & Co., Patrick Clifford, a spokesman for Moore Capital, and Bob Hubbell, a spokesman for New York’s Fitzgerald, all declined to comment on campaign donations.

Boehner and House Republicans last year opposed passage of the revamped rules for the financial industry, which was blamed for triggering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

President Obama signed those new rules - shepherded through Congress by Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Newton, and then-Senator Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut - into law a year ago this month. Since taking control of the House, the Republican majority has moved to undo parts of the legislation, although the Democratic Senate has prevented major changes. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Obama skips fund-raisers to focus on debt limit talks WASHINGTON - President Obama’s reelection campaign has postponed several fund-raisers because of the ongoing talks over raising the debt limit.

Campaign officials say Obama had to cancel plans for fund-raisers in California and Washington state in recent weeks, along with an event at the New York home of film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Obama skipped two Washington fund-raisers yesterday; one was canceled, and Vice President Joe Biden will attend the other. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Arkansas Democrat won’t seek reelection to House LITTLE ROCK - Representative Mike Ross, the only Democrat among Arkansas’s four House members, said yesterday he will not seek reelection next year.

Ross, who has expressed interest in running for governor in 2014, said that he wants to spend time with his family and explore “new opportunities here at home in Arkansas.’’ He later said opting out of next year’s House run keeps the gubernatorial race an open possibility.

“If I ran for reelection and won, then I think I would have closed that door,’’ he said during a news conference in Little Rock.

Ross is in his sixth term representing Arkansas’ sprawling Fourth District. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Gingrich quietly trying to revive GOP campaign MANCHESTER, N.H. - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said yesterday he will be “doing a lot of grass-roots things and developing a lot of ideas,’’ in an attempt to revive a campaign suffering from debt and an early exodus of campaign advisers.

But while Gingrich is quick to talk about ideas, any grass-roots campaigning in New Hampshire is being done quietly, away from the eyes of much of the media.

On a two-day trip to New Hampshire and Massachusetts that ends today, the former House speaker has six radio show appearances lined up. His only publicized New Hampshire campaign stop with any voter contact was a tour of Spectrum Marketing Companies, a direct mail firm whose clients include numerous Republican politicians.

In Massachusetts, Gingrich’s schedule included a showing in Lexington last night of “Nine Days that Changed the World’’ about Pope John Paul II. The movie, produced by Gingrich and his wife, Callista, focuses on the pope’s visit to his native Poland in 1979. Gingrich has frequently mixed campaign visits with promotions of his productions.

Spokesman R.C. Hammond said Gingrich may do another business visit today. Otherwise, Gingrich is meeting privately with activists and business leaders. Hammond said the candidate met voters at a diner yesterday - but the media received no notice.

Asked about the scarcity of events that include contact with voters, Hammond pointed to previous trips, including a town hall meeting on health care in Derry, a meeting with Tea Party activists in Dover, and a meet-and-greet at a Conway cafe.

Gingrich finished the recent fund-raising quarter $1 million in debt, with just $322,000 cash on hand. Much of his top staff resigned early on, and Gingrich is relying on volunteers to organize political outreach and campaign visits in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

Yet Gingrich said he believes his campaign will have a genuine impact in Iowa and New Hampshire because of the ideas he is proposing. “The difference in substance and difference in experience will make a difference by January,’’ Gingrich told reporters in Manchester. He pledged, “You’ll see me here a lot just as you’ll see me in Iowa a lot.’’

Gingrich said he believes he will attract support from the Tea Party through a “10th Amendment enforcement act.’’ Hammond said that refers to an initiative to have citizens identify areas like education or health care where the federal government is overreaching. Republicans promoted a similar concept in 1996, when Gingrich was speaker, through legislation ensuring the federal government does not infringe on states’ rights. — SHIRA SCHOENBERG