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Republican candidates should name all of their bundlers


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2139496Washington Examiner:

Meet the bundlers. They are usually wealthy campaign supporters with social or business connections to many similarly situated friends. Their job is to solicit political donations from these friends and colleagues, and then to deliver the funds to a chosen candidate. No person can donate more than $5,000 to a campaign (primary and general election combined), but bundlers can take credit for corralling maximum donations from dozens or even hundreds of donors. When bundlers dial their numbers, senators, representatives and presidential candidates in both parties take their calls.

For that reason, federal campaign finance law requires full disclosure for registered lobbyists who bundle donations for campaigns. After all, lobbyists stand out as the clear beneficiaries of our current system of strictly limited contributions to candidates. Their clients make for ready-made and easily accessible donor lists, full of wealthy people who may have something to gain from government and ample interest in political giving. It makes sense that the disclosure of registered lobbyists' names be mandatory.



But disclosure for all other bundlers is optional. And, as advocates of transparency in politics and government, we are disappointed that the Republican candidates for president have opted against it. For one thing, the concept of a "non-lobbyist lobbyist" is becoming familiar even to Americans outside the Beltway during this presidential campaign. Washington political operatives are well aware that Newt Gingrich is not the only one.


Scores of former congressmen and influential congressional staffers, once-and-future executive-branch political appointees and opportunistic career bureaucrats traipse around within the Beltway, promoting legislative and regulatory changes that will benefit their clients, or make life difficult for their competitors. Many of them bundle contributions, but don't meet the legal threshold that would require them to register as lobbyists.Scissors-32x32.png

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