During the presidential campaign, there was a bit of discussion of bundlers: the individuals who were putting together or “bundling” $2,300 checks for their chosen candidate. Well today the Wall Street Journal tells us there’s actually another class of mega-organisers called mega-bundlers who raised hundreds of thousands for the candidates.
WSJ: The campaign began with the rise of “bundlers,” individuals who raise many small checks up to the $2,300 cap imposed by a 2002 campaign-finance law to dilute the influence of big money. But it ended with mega-bundlers, a category documented by a study commissioned by The Wall Street Journal.
These are fund-raisers who have raised up to $70,000 apiece from individuals by channeling it through joint fund-raising committees, which spread the donations out lawfully. The trend helped fuel the most expensive presidential election in history…
The study documents for the first time the rise of mega-bundlers and the ease with which they get around normal donation limits. Many have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars single-handedly, often with just a flurry of emails and calls to business associates and relatives.
So who raised how much for Obama and McCain?
Mikal Watts, a prominent product liability lawyer in Texas, raised $285,000 from 10 partners, including himself, for the joint fund-raising committee of Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee.
“It didn’t take any time at all,” Mr. Watts said. He personally donated $28,500 to Sen. Obama’s joint victory account, the Obama Victory Fund, and sent out emails that quickly raised the same amount from each of the other nine partners.
“This guy made fund raising the easiest thing in the world,” Mr. Watts said. “I could have raised several million more if I could have gotten him back to Texas.”
We’re sure that’s music to McCain’s ears…
In the Republican camp, Scott Rothstein, a Florida lawyer, said he has raised $1.1 million for Sen. John McCain and is in his “kitchen cabinet.” Nothing was easier than soliciting money for the presidential candidate’s joint fund-raising account, McCain-Palin Victory 2008, he said. At a fund-raising event at his Fort Lauderdale home this year, Mr. Rothstein and eight of his colleagues donated a total of $569,000 to the account…
Through Oct. 15, the two presidential candidates had raised a total of $350 million in their joint fund-raising accounts, about equally…
The study found Sen. McCain had 84 mega-bundlers. They include Hess Corp. Chief Executive John Hess, who was credited with $256,500 in contributions from himself and nine Hess employees. Mr. Hess declined to comment.
Henry Kravis, of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., raised $322,000 from himself and 11 people in his office. Mr. Kravis declined to comment.
Sen. Obama and his supporters have touted a big infusion of small-dollar online donors as a sign that the spirit of campaign-finance reform was alive and well. But Sen. Obama had 119 mega-bundlers, according to the study.
Among them was John Arnold, an executive with Texas-based energy hedge fund Centaurus Energy LLC, who raised $176,000 for Sen. Obama from himself and six people. He declined to comment.
Chris Pohlad rounded up $170,000 for Sen. Obama from himself and six people at PepsiAmericas Inc.
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