Bagging the Bundlers

In these campaign contribution-limited times, the big-money bundlers to the presidential campaigns are worth their weight in gold (check or credit card also accepted). McCain, whose Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act helped establish current federal campaign contribution limits, is out-raising Obama on the bundler front but neither man is exactly eschewing the practice that many have called a loophole for big donor influence.

 

McCain's bundlers have brought in over $75 million for him thus far, while Obama's bundlers have raised a little over $50 million. However, as this article notes, those numbers may reflect differences in how the candidates choose to disclose information about bundlers.

 

"This really proves how enormously valuable it is to have a network of fundraisers out there shaking the bushes for you," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. "For McCain, who wants to project an image as a maverick on reform, it is precisely the wrong message to be so reliant on this tiny set of well-heeled donors."

Both men are taking heat for playing up their image as critics of the campaign finance status quo while continuing to collect big money. Obama addresses some of these criticisms, including the kerfuffle around his opting out of the presidential public financing program in an interview with Gwen Ifill of PBS, excerpted here.