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While the 2004 ballot is setting up to be one of the most divisive elections in history, campaign contributors to the candidates are looking more similar than ever.

Presidential Candidate John Kerry has received increasingly more donations from employees of companies that have historically made large donations to President George W. Bush‘s campaign.

In fact, Bush and Kerry now share four of the same 10 largest donors this election cycle, all of whom are financial corporations, according to a study by the Center for Public Integrity.

Kerry Cycle Patrons Bush Cycle Patrons
Harvard University$213,045.00 Pricewaterhouse Coopers$488,600.00
Citigroup$169,254.00 Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.$486,125.00
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom$169,225.00 Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.$455,904.00
Time Warner$158,506.00 UBS AG Inc$368,900.00
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi$150,250.00 Goldman Sachs Group$295,950.00
UBS AG Inc$138,700.00 Credit Suisse First Boston$271,650.00
Goldman Sachs Group$127,750.00 Ernst & Young LLP$267,105.00
Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand/Piper Rudnick$124,152.00 Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.$263,200.00
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo$102,051.00 MBNA Corp.$251,000.00
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co.$100,204.00 Citigroup$246,645.00

Until this cycle, most of Kerry’s top contributors had come from the telecommunications industry and law firms. Most of Bush’s largest donors remain consistent: financial corporations with executives who have pledged to raise money for the president’s reelection.

Like Bush, who pioneered the use of bundling fundraisers, Kerry lists more than 500 independent fundraisers of his own — 10 of whom are associated with Citigroup, UBS Financial Services, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Bush currently lists almost 600 fundraisers, whom the campaign designates as Rangers, Pioneers or Mavericks based on the amounts they have raised. Rangers have raised $200,000.00 or more, Pioneers $100,000 and Mavericks, $50,000.

Bush’s top career patrons are Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Kerry’s largest career donors are Harvard University, Time Warner and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo.

Millionaires to spare personal assets

Based on a new Center analysis of financial disclosure forms, the two presidential candidates are millionaires, though none can use more than $50,000 of his own money unless he opts out of federal matching funds. Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry have a disclosed worth of as much as $747 million, but the most that Senator Kerry can lay claim to as his own is $14.8 million of those assets. The bulk of the fortune belongs to Heinz Kerry, though the two do hold some assets jointly.

The next most prosperous household belongs to Richard and Lynn Cheney, whose personal assets together amount to as much as $111.2 million. John Edwards discloses the upper-end of his family’s wealth at $44.6 million, and President Bush rounds out the field reporting as much as $18.9 million in assets.

Even third Party Candidate Ralph Nader has as much as $4.9 million in assets; he earned more than half a million dollars last year through speeches and other activities.

All of the candidates reported incomes of at least $400,000.

A database of each candidate’s income and assets can be found in the Buying of the President Document Warehouse.

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