Federal Politics

Published — June 12, 2008 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Obama’s rainmakers

1.5 million donors — but 328 big bundlers

Introduction

Traditionally, the practice of “bundling” — pooling together a large number of donations — is a common and often essential part of campaign fundraising. Presidential candidates rely on the work of their wealthy and well-connected supporters to haul in huge amounts of cash, sometimes bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars each.

Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has tried to break the mold, employing a revolutionary fundraising process that relies heavily on small donors — up to 88 percent of his total funds come directly from those individual donations. But Obama is not exactly ignoring those supporters with deeper pockets and extensive connections. An analysis of his campaign’s 328 bundlers, who have raised anywhere from $50,000 to more than $200,000, reveals that they have brought in at least $31.65 million, accounting for at least 11.9 percent of Obama’s total fundraising haul of more than $265 million. Of those 328 bundlers, 78 individuals brought in about $15.6 million dollars to the campaign — at least 5.8 percent of his total funds.

Fourteen of Obama’s bundlers are lobbyists, according to Public Citizen, a nonprofit public interest organization founded by Ralph Nader that tracks bundlers through its White House for Sale project. Rival John McCain, the group reports, has 70 lobbyists working as bundlers.

Even without bundling, Obama would still likely crush McCain’s fundraising total of about $97 million. In fact, the $31 million-plus brought in by Obama’s bundlers accounts for a minimum of nearly one-third of McCain’s total haul. (And McCain’s campaign has also identified 107 bundlers.)

In 2004, Democratic nominee John Kerry raised $248 million for the primary. His more than 500 bundlers brought in a total of at least $41.5 million in the primary—about 17 percent of the total. So prodigious is Obama’s fundraising that, even with some 200 fewer bundlers and a reliance on small donors, his campaign has raised almost as much through bundling as Kerry.

In the interest of full disclosure, the Obama campaign has published its list of bundlers online, but at least one name seems to be missing. Robert Blackwell, a Chicago entrepreneur who has known Obama since his days in the Illinois State Senate, is a longtime supporter of the candidate.

According to Alex Cohen, a senior researcher at Public Citizen, the Obama campaign removed Blackwell’s name from their list after the Los Angeles Times ran an unflattering story detailing Obama and Blackwell’s financial relationship. The Times reports that Obama requested a tourism grant to benefit the Blackwell company, Killerspin, after he received a total of $112,000 to give “legal advice” to Blackwell’s technology firm for over a year.

Cohen said Public Citizen has not received a “straight answer” from the campaign as to why Blackwell’s name was removed.

Ben LaBolt, Obama campaign spokesman, said Blackwell is not listed because he did not meet his fundraising goal and is no longer a bundler for the campaign. He said the campaign would welcome Blackwell as a fundraiser and disclose his name on its website, should he express any interest in doing so.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.