Where in the World are Obama’s Bundlers?

October 21, 2011 07:56


Eleven bundlers from three foreign countries and two U.S. territories (the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) have bundled at least $1.55 million. This includes at least $100,000 each from U.S. citizens living China and Switzerland, and at least $750,000 from three residents of Puerto Rico.

By Seth Cline at OpenSecrets.org

Nearly lost in the troves of campaign finance data recently released by presidential candidates was an updated list of bundlers for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. These 359 well-connected supporters have raised at least $56 million for Obama and the Democratic National Committee so far this year, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama’s campaign, the sole presidential campaign to disclose information about its bundlers, only gives broad ranges for the amounts these elite fund-raisers have raised, so the exact amount they’ve raised is unknown.

But because the campaign releases a figure for the minimum amount bundled, it’s safe to say that bundlers constitute a sizable portion of the fund-raising for Obama and the DNC.

In fact, more than $1 of every $3 donated to Obama and the DNC so far this year has come from bundlers, according to the Center’s research. Through Sept. 30, the date of the most recent campaign finance filings, the Obama campaign has raised about $90 million and the DNC has raised about $64 million.

Californians account for the largest source of bundled money, with 87bundlers raising at least $15.35 million overall for Obama and the DNC. At least $6.45 million is new money raised during the third quarter, as Californian bundlers had raised a minimum of $8.9 million for Obama and the DNC at the end of the second quarter, as OpenSecrets Blog previously reported.

In distant second is New York, where 49 bundlers have raised at least $9.3 million for Obama and the DNC, according to the Center’s research. At the end of the second quarter, New York bundlers had raised a minimum of $4.9 million; so at least $4.4 million of the $9.3 million sum is new money raised between July and September.

Other Obama-friendly states include Florida, where 29 bundlers have raised at least $4.5 million, and Massachusetts, whose 23 bundlers have raised $3.8 million, according to the Center’s research.

Bundling for the Obama campaign is increasingly an international affair as well.

Eleven bundlers from three foreign countries and two U.S. territories (the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) have bundled at least $1.55 million. This includes at least $100,000 each from U.S. citizens living China and Switzerland, and at least $750,000 from three residents of Puerto Rico.

The city of London, in the United Kingdom, has been one of the most active places for bundlers abroad – and the city has seen an increase of pro-Obama bundling since the last time Obama released his bundlers’ information in July as well.

Four American citizens living in London became bundlers this past quarter, up from just one during the second quarter. That increased the country’s minimum bundling total by 10 times, going from a minimum of $50,000 to a minimum of $500,000, according to the Center’s research.

Some notable bundlers for the campaign include former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who is also the former chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, each of whom has raised at least $500,000 and perhaps much more. The top dollar range provided by the Obama campaign is simply “more than $500,000.”

MOBILIZING BUNDLERS AND THE GRASSROOTS

The Obama campaign’s list of bundlers covers individuals who have raised at least $50,000 for the Obama campaign and the Obama Victory Fund — a joint fund-raising committee that funnels money to both the Obama campaign and the DNC.

While it’s impossible to know exactly how much of the Obama Victory Fund’s money can be attributed to bundlers, the fund accounts for about $1 of every $4 the Obama campaign has raised since April, according to the Center’s research. Since April the Obama Victory Fund has collected $65 million, of which about $22 million has been transferred to the Obama campaign.

At the same time that the Obama campaign has been mobilizing its deep-pocketed supporters, it has also been firing up its grassroots donors. The campaign has raised $41 million from small-dollar donors — those who gave $200 or less — as OpenSecrets Blog previously reported.

The Obama campaign says that more than 1 million individuals have donated to Obama’s re-election efforts. It claims that 98 percent of the donations it has received have been in increments of $250 or less.

When asked by OpenSecrets Blog how the 98 percent figure meshes with the fact that the Obama Victory Fund — whose donors typically give far more than $250, accounts for 25 percent of the campaign’s receipts to-date — Katie Hogan, an Obama campaign spokeswoman, said that “the 98 percent is applied after the transfers occur.”

“The first $5,000 of any donation [to the Obama Victory Fund] goes to Obama for America and the rest goes to the DNC,” she continued. “Any donation under $5,000 goes to the campaign.”

According to the Center’s analysis of the Obama Victory Fund’s FEC filings, only 3.4 percent of the money the fund has raised has come from small-dollar donors who gave $200 or less.



Help Make A Difference By Sharing These Articles On Facebook, Twitter And Elsewhere: