In an effort spearheaded by Issue One, 14 organizations from across the political spectrum are urging each of the Democratic and Republican 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.
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.
“Government accountability depends on transparency in our campaign finance system, and that includes transparency about presidential campaign bundlers,” the groups state in the new letter, which was recently mailed and e-mailed to all Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.
The letter 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.”
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.”
By midnight on Sunday, Oct. 15, 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. Over the years, the practice of voluntarily sharing information about campaign bundlers has been embraced by Democrats and Republicans alike.
For instance, during the 2020 presidential campaign, now-President Joe Biden and now-Vice President Kamala Harris each disclosed some information about their campaign 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 likewise voluntarily shared some information about their campaign bundlers. Republican Donald Trump opted not to voluntarily reveal any information about his campaign bundlers during either his 2016 or 2020 presidential campaigns.
Last month, 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. Meanwhile, CNBC reported earlier this year that the Trump campaign has at least two tiers of bundlers — those who raise at least $250,000 and those who raise at least $1 million. And Republican Vivek Ramaswamy made headlines earlier this year for proposing to give a 10% commission to his campaign bundlers.
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 16 Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to whom this letter was sent are as follows:
- Joe Biden
- Ryan Binkley
- Doug Burgum
- Chris Christie
- Ron DeSantis
- Larry Elder
- Nikki Haley
- Will Hurd
- Asa Hutchinson
- Perry Johnson
- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
- Mike Pence
- Vivek Ramsawamy
- Tim Scott
- Donald Trump
- Marianne Williamson