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.
Now, part of that has to do with increased scrutiny of the bundling practice and the influence of money which results in donors who are reluctant to be publicly acknowledged. Bush's disclosure, as Craig Holman of Public Citizen notes in this article, set him up for great scrutiny:
“George Bush very admirably disclosed his bundling activity,” said Craig Holman, a campaign finance lobbyist for Public Citizen, a government watchdog group. “It was to his credit but not to his favor. We were able to connect a lot of dots. One in five bundlers received some form of government appointment by the Bush administration.”
Bush has received criticism throughout his tenure for catering to special interests, but as it turns out, he has been more open about his dealing with interest groups than candidates pledging to clean up Washington’s influence industry.
“None of the presidential candidates are as open as George W. Bush and I find that remarkable,” Holman said. “It’s startling, especially since some of these candidates are running on platforms of opposing corruption from special interest money and lobbying. It’s startling that they’re not even as good as Bush in disclosing the special interests footing their campaigns.”
Some groups are working to backfill the lack of voluntary bundling disclosure from the campaigns, including Public Citizen who maintain this database, WhiteHouseforSale.org, on bundlers to both Democratic and Republican candidates.
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