Despite the Obama campaign’s continued success with small donors, fundraisers continue to rely on large donations.
The campaign on Friday afternoon released a list of 244 individuals or couples who raised “bundled” donations of at least $50,000 from their network of contacts. Their contributions total a minimum of $35 million, representing at least 40 percent of the funds that the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised in the second fundraising quarter.
The crème de la crème of the group is 23 individuals and four couples who raised at least $500,000 for the campaign and contributed a minimum of $13.5 million between them. Their ranks include former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. The latter two also raised at least $500,000 for Obama in 2008.
Another notable name from the list is Ari Emanuel, a powerful Los Angeles talent agent and the brother of Chicago mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. He raised between $50,000 and $100,000.
Obama devoted his attention to powerful donors over the last quarter, packing in three or four DNC fundraising events during trips to cities like Los Angeles and New York. Many of his highest-producing bundlers hail from both of those regions.
In the entire 2008 campaign, 560 bundlers raised $76.5 million for Obama, according to the website OpenSecrets.org.
The practice of disclosing bundlers is not required, and the Obama campaign is pressing other candidates to release their lists as well. “President Bush disclosed his bundlers. Will the current GOP field follow suit? What do they have to hide?” wrote press secretary Ben LaBolt on Twitter shortly after the list was released.
The campaign announced on Monday that it had raised $47 million in the past three months on its own and a combined $86 million with the DNC. Obama's haul was more than twice as much as the $18 million the leading Republican, Mitt Romney, managed to pull in and dwarfed the entire Republican field. But the campaign used the figure to proclaim the strength of their grassroots network—those who donated $250 or less. More than 260,000 of the 552,000 people who donated in Q2 were first-time Obama donors, and the money from the grassroots network represented 98 percent of the quarter’s contributions.