Hillary Clinton's response during the second Democratic debate to questions about the financial support she's seen from Wall Street was, at best, clumsy.
"I represented New York," she said, "and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan, where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country."
The implication of the response? Wall Street appreciated her work after 9/11, and it has supported her as a result.
There's just one catch: Clinton represented New York during that period because she won election in 2000. And even then, before 9/11, she got a lot of money from Wall Street.
The Center for Responsive Politics identifies the top 20 employers that gave to Clinton during that cycle. At the top of the list is Citigroup, whose employees gave a combined $105,900 to Clinton well before 9/11. (Citigroup's PAC gave an additional $2,000.) No. 4 on the list is Goldman Sachs, whose employees gave nearly $89,000. No. 8 is the financial services company UBS. No. 10? Chase. In total, the center calculates that Clinton took in nearly $1.2 million from the "securities and investment" industry between 1999 and 2002.
Clinton's 2000 campaign filing from the FEC reveals 44 donations from Citigroup, 54 from Goldman, 36 from Paine Webber, 43 from Deloitte, 21 from Credit Suisse and 18 from Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. There are a number of other financial firms that appear in the list; these are just the most frequent donors.
The year 2000 was not the first time that the financial industry was introduced to the Clinton family, of course. It's worth noting that generosity from Wall Street was extended to Clinton's husband well before 2001. In 1992, for example, Bill Clinton's campaign received $853,000 from the financial industry.
And there's the foundation, to which Hillary Clinton returned after leaving the State Department in 2013. In January 2001, Bill Clinton began working in earnest on the Clinton Foundation, starting with the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. In 1999 and 2000, the foundation detailed scores of anonymous contributions of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. We know from the foundation's current donor list that a number of financial institutions have given large sums to the foundation. All of those donations could have come after 9/11 — but the foundation raised hundreds of thousands before.
The most contentious Clinton Foundation donor as Clinton left office was Denise Rich. The wife of financier Mark Rich, she gave $450,000 to the library project. One of Clinton's last actions in office was to issue a pardon to Mark, who at the time was living in Europe to avoid trial for fraud and illegally trading with Iran. He died in 2013.
When Hillary Clinton ran for reelection in 2006, about 5.3 percent of the money she raised came from the securities and investment industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. When she first ran in 2000, the percentage was a slightly more modest 3.8 percent -- which is about the same percentage as the industry gave when she ran for president in 2008.
It's a smaller percentage than her New York Senate colleagues raised -- but in 2006, she raised a lot more money. That cycle, with 2008 looming, she took in $51.6 million in contributions, to Kirsten Gillibrand's $15.7 million in 2012 and Chuck Schumer's $19.5 million in 2010.
The attacks on 9/11 might have prompted a more fervent appreciation for Clinton on Wall Street. But it's clear that the financial industry was more than willing to show its support for both Clintons even before that tragedy.