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Lesson from Bush?

This cycle's presidential candidates might learn a thing or two from George W. Bush on the subject of disclosure: namely, to do more of it. Alexander Bolton at The Hill points to a discrepancy between candidates this time around talking more about disclosure of contributions, but doing less of it than Bush did with his list of Rangers and Pioneers bundlers.

Return to Bundler

Bundling goes beyond the Beltway. This story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which features commentary from Public Campaign's Nick Nyhart looks at the end run around contribution limits by one very wealthy supporter of St. Louis mayor Francis Slay.

Bundle of Ploy

Brody Mullins at the Wall Street Journal labels the prevalent practice of bundling "the chief source of abuse in the American campaign-finance system" and when he does the math and talks to the people in the fundraising trenches, it's clear his charge has merit.

Maybe the F is Silent

Continuing on their quest to make elections about money instead of voters, the Center for Competitive Politics has a letter published in DC newspaper, The Hill, this morning about the need for higher limits on campaign contributions.


In the letter, Mike Schrimpf states, "increasing contribution limits, or eliminating them entirely, would greatly diminish the need for bundlers."


The Oprah Argument

This one's a bit of a head-scratcher. The Los Angeles Times compares Norman Hsu to Oprah Winfrey to illustrate the point that not all campaign bundlers are crooks. And while I grant them that premise I don't buy that just because some bundlers are good people, bundling is a good thing.

An Ask They Can't Refuse

The presidential race is crowded and money is tight so candidates are relying more and more on their stable of bundlers and those bundlers are relying more on more on "sure thing" donors, i.e. the people they know just can't say no. What's compelling people who've never given a dime to a candidate to fork over $2,300 asks the Washington Post? A sudden passion for politics, or soft-pedaled coercion?

Unwrap the Bundle

Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-IL) pens this editorial for the Chicago Tribune urging the House to join with the Senate in requiring disclosure of bundlers -- those who corral large contributions on behalf of a particular candidate -- to promote transparency and ensure accountability.

Lobbying Bill Inches Forward

A slightly weaker version of House Democrats' big lobbying bill passed out the Judiciary Committee after certain contentious provisions were eliminated. Though some of the ethics watchdogs in Congress are disappointed in what got axed, there's hope that at least now that the bill is moving forward there's potential to see it strengthened down the road.

Stalled, But Not Forgotten

Well it seems the initial wind has gone out the sails of the lobbying reforms Democratic leaders in Congress pledged to pass after the mid-term elections. Different versions of the bills in the House and Senate to regulate lobbying activity and promote greater transparency have yet to be reconciled and at the center of the debate is that sneaky arrow in the quiver of big money: bundling.


Bundled Up

William Safire used his New York Times Magazine "On Language" column on Sunday to trace the evolution of the word "bundling" all the way from Dutch teenagers to George Bush, citing Public Campaign's Rick Bielke on the first use of the term to refer to the practice of skirting campaign contribution limits by getting big donors to solicit money from friends and associates for their candidate of choice.