Unwrap the Bundle

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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.

Bundling in its current form allows individuals to direct hundreds of thousands of dollars towards candidates. While the candidate knows where the money is coming from (and can reward the bundler for it) the public only knows about the compartively small personal donation the bundler made; not the thousands they brought in from friends, associates, and other acquaintances. As Obama writes, more "sunlight" is needed here:

 

It is no coincidence that the best bundlers are often granted the greatest access, and access is power in Washington. When the bundlers are lobbyists, we must require full disclosure because they and their clients have a financial stake in the outcome of specific legislation. That gets in the way of public officials doing the business of the people -- all of the people, not just a few.


We can't stop individual lobbyists from raising money. But we certainly can make it clear to the public whom they are raising it for -- and from. This will help clarify the link between campaign cash and decisions made in Washington.