As voters begin to make their voices heard in presidential primaries, 14 organizations from across the political spectrum have urged the 2024 presidential candidates to publicly reveal information about their top campaign fundraisers — often referred to as “bundlers” — on a regular basis throughout the 2024 election cycle.
“Government accountability depends on transparency in our campaign finance system, and that includes transparency about presidential campaign bundlers,” the groups state in the letter, which was spearheaded by Issue One and which was sent this week to each of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates as well as independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is reportedly considering disclosing information about his campaign bundlers.
This letter follows up on a similar letter sent by this crosspartisan coalition in October.
Bundlers frequently raise vast sums of money for presidential candidates, often hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. This enables them to ingratiate themselves — and curry favor — with those candidates. Under both Democratic and Republican administrations, campaign bundlers have received plum postings, such as ambassadorships and positions on commissions.
The letter calls on all presidential candidates to “release information about your bundlers in tandem with the upcoming campaign finance reporting deadline with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) — and continue to disclose this information in connection with any and all future FEC reporting deadlines throughout the entire 2024 election cycle.”
It continues: “Your campaign is already required by law to regularly report detailed information about any federal lobbyists who bundle campaign contributions on your behalf. Implementing a robust bundler disclosure system that publicly displays information about all individuals who raise $50,000 or more for your campaign would help demonstrate your commitment to transparency as you seek your party’s presidential nomination.”
By midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 31, all presidential candidates must file new campaign finance reports with the FEC.
Presidential candidates have long utilized bundlers to help raise the funds necessary to wage competitive campaigns. And over the years, the practice of voluntarily sharing information about campaign bundlers has been embraced by Democrats and Republicans alike, although Republican Donald Trump opted not to voluntarily reveal any information about his campaign bundlers during either his 2016 or 2020 presidential campaigns.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, now-President Joe Biden and now-Vice President Kamala Harris each disclosed some information about their campaign bundlers, though the Biden-Harris reelection campaign has yet to disclose information about its bundlers. Previously, candidates ranging from President George W. Bush to President Barack Obama to 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton voluntarily shared some information about their campaign bundlers.
In December, Republican Ron DeSantis — who dropped out of the presidential race on Sunday — released a list of more than 150 campaign bundlers, though did not include any information about how much money these individuals have raised for this campaign.
Last year, NBC News reported that the Biden campaign has at least four tiers of bundlers that will receive special perks and access during the 2024 campaign — those who raise at least $46,000, those who raise at least $750,000, those who raise at least $1.25 million, and those who raise at least $2.5 million. And Puck News reported last week that the Trump campaign has at least seven tiers of bundlers — from those who raise at least $15,000 (“Trump Force”) to those who raise at least $1 million (“Ultra MAGA”).
The 14 organizations that signed this new letter are as follows:
- American Promise
- Business for America
- Campaign Legal Center
- Common Cause
- Democracy 21
- Issue One
- League of Women Voters of the United States
- Michigan Campaign Finance Network
- National Legal and Policy Center
- Project On Government Oversight
- Public Citizen
- Take Back Our Republic Action
The seven presidential candidates to whom this letter was sent are as follows:
- Democrat Joe Biden
- Republican Ryan Binkley
- Republican Nikki Haley
- Independent Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
- Democrat Dean Phillips
- Republican Donald Trump
- Democrat Marianne Williamson
Update, Jan. 24, 2024: Ryan Binkley’s campaign told Issue One that it does not use bundlers.