Obama "Bundlers" Raise Millions for Reelection Campaign

By:  Brian Koenig
11/01/2011
       
Obama "Bundlers" Raise Millions for Reelection Campaign

A highlight of President Obama’s 2008 campaign was his purported drive to end "special interest politics," as he assured American voters that he would not accept contributions from Washington’s vast army of lobbyists. "You need leadership you can trust to work for you, not for the special interests who have had their thumb on the scale," Obama declared at an October 2008 campaign stop in La Crosse, Wisconsin. "And together, we will tell Washington, and their lobbyists, that their days of setting the agenda are over. They have not funded my campaign. You have. They will not run my White House. You'll help me run my White House."

But according to the New York Times, Obama’s pledge to rid the White House of self-indulgent lobbyists has fallen well short, as he has courted prominent allies in the lobbying industry who are raising millions of dollars for his 2012 reelection campaign. At least 15 of Obama’s "bundlers" — large donors who bundle together contributions from multiple parties — hold influential roles in the lobbying industry (though they are not registered), and have raised more than five million dollars so far for the campaign.

These 15 bundlers are a dominant force among Washington’s business and political alliances. Sally Susman, an executive who manages lobbying operations for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, raised more than $500,000 for the Obama campaign and helped promote a $35,800-a-ticket dinner for the President. However, under the labyrinthine tenets of federal lobbying, Susman has avoided registering with the Senate as a lobbyist.

A highlight of President Obama’s 2008 campaign was his purported drive to end "special interest politics," as he assured American voters that he would not accept contributions from Washington’s vast army of lobbyists. "You need leadership you can trust to work for you, not for the special interests who have had their thumb on the scale," Obama declared at an October 2008 campaign stop in La Crosse, Wisconsin. "And together, we will tell Washington, and their lobbyists, that their days of setting the agenda are over. They have not funded my campaign. You have. They will not run my White House. You'll help me run my White House."

But according to the New York Times, Obama’s pledge to rid the White House of self-indulgent lobbyists has fallen well short, as he has courted prominent allies in the lobbying industry who are raising millions of dollars for his 2012 reelection campaign. At least 15 of Obama’s "bundlers" — large donors who bundle together contributions from multiple parties — hold influential roles in the lobbying industry (though they are not registered), and have raised more than five million dollars so far for the campaign.

These 15 bundlers are a dominant force among Washington’s business and political alliances. Sally Susman, an executive who manages lobbying operations for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, raised more than $500,000 for the Obama campaign and helped promote a $35,800-a-ticket dinner for the President. However, under the labyrinthine tenets of federal lobbying, Susman has avoided registering with the Senate as a lobbyist.

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Alex Heckler, Democratic fund-raiser (photo)

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