Groups Demand More Transparency in Fundraising from McCain and Obama

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Sunlight has joined with seven other organizations in calling on the McCain and Obama campaigns to provide more details about their bundlers, the “mega-fundraisers” who are very skilled at using their business and personal contacts to raise large amounts of campaign cash for a specific candidate. By clicking on the following links, you can view the letters sent to John McCain and Barack Obama.

Bundlers are well-connected political players such as corporate executives and lobbyists collect far more money from friends, business associates and other contacts than they are allowed by law to give as an individual donor. Bundling is a big source of funds for the campaigns, earning the bundlers great access and power within a campaign and, for those fortunate to have chosen the right horse, great access and sway in the new administration. (Think Ambassadorships, appointments to regulatory commissions like the SEC, FCC, and other plumb positions.) McCain and Obama have voluntarily listed how much their bundlers have raised their campaign but in the most general terms.

Specifically, we are asking McCain and Obama to:

  • report on their Web sites the exact amount bundlers have raised for the campaign;
  • ask their party’s national committee to track and disclose bundling funds coming to the party;
  • to disclose bundler’s locations by city and state, as well as their occupations and employers, matching FEC requirements for any donor contributing more than $200;
  • and for individual contributors of $200 or less, we are asking the candidates to disclose the number of contributors and cumulative amounts by ZIP code and country (for those Americans living oversees).

    Sunlight, in signing the letters joins the Campaign Finance Institute, Center for Responsive Politics, Common Cause, Democracy 21, League of Women Voters, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG.

    In the letter, we acknowledged to the campaigns that we are asking for information presidential campaigns have not provided in the past. “But, to borrow a phrase,” the letter says, “for those whom much private money has been contributed, much is required.” Indeed.

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