Obama Campaign Promises New Disclosure on Bundlers

By Rhonda Schwartz And Justin Rood

Nov 6, 2007 11:56am

Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said Monday evening he would release new details on the levels of campaign contributions raised by "bundlers" for his presidential campaign, "something that no other candidate has done," according to campaign spokesman Bill Burton. Burton said the campaign "is putting together the information now" and "very shortly" intends to publish a list of bundlers and the levels of money they’ve raised for the campaign. Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and other candidates have publicized the names of their "bundlers," supporters who volunteer to raise tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for their campaigns, campaign finance watchdogs said. Obama had previously disclosed that his bundlers have raised at least $50,000, while Clinton had identified that her bundlers — known as Hillraisers – have raised at least $100,000.  Obama’s announcement is "refreshing," said Craig Holman, an expert on money in elections for the nonprofit group Public Citizen. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. Massie Ritsch of the political money group Center for Responsive Politics called the move "new, unique and significant." "This is one area in the campaign finance process where there is almost complete darkness," Ritsch said. "We wish all candidates were willing to shine light on who their biggest fundraisers are and how much they’ve raised for them." Still, no 2008 candidate has matched the level of openness that Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and President George Bush exhibited in the 2004 elections, Holman noted. The two candidates released the names of their bundlers, the amount they raised, the bundler’s employer and his or her city and state of residence. When asked if the Obama campaign would reveal such identifying information so its bundlers could be easily identified, Burton said that anyone who was interested could find that information by looking up the donors’ names in the campaign’s FEC filings. Holman called that arrangement "unfortunate." "It makes it difficult to identify the business interests who are trying to buy favor with these candidates," he explained. "And you can bet they’re doing that." Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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