I was astonished to read in Robert Novak's July 5 column, "The Democrats' Problem With Greenspan," that "New York's great financial houses are filled with Democrats who are determined to drive George W. Bush out of the White House."

Even a cursory review of the top contributors to George W. Bush in the 2004 election cycle refutes Novak's theory.

According to OpenSecrets.org, 15 of Bush's top 20 contributors could arguably be labeled "financial houses," many even based in New York. Morgan Stanley, the top contributor, gave $551,625; Merrill Lynch, $514,804; PricewaterhouseCoopers, $492,100; Lehman Brothers, $347,709; MBNA Corp., $345,000; Goldman Sachs, $338,875; Credit Suisse First Boston, $300,150; and Citigroup, $266,050. You get the idea.

By contrast, Citigroup gave John Kerry $150,306, Goldman Sachs gave Kerry $130,500, and Morgan Stanley gave the Democrat $74,704.

Those numbers hardly support Novak's theory about Wall Street pushing for Kerry. I would expect a journalist with Novak's reputation to have done a minimum amount of legwork before writing his column -- or at least to have had an assistant do so. Heaven forbid celebrity journalists sully themselves by investigating the facts before reporting pet theories. At the least, your paper should have fact-checked Novak's column.

-- Tom Vinson

Rockville