Clinton has so far received at least $49.6 million from nearly 500 bundlers, or individual fundraisers who collect money from friends and acquaintances in order to deliver a candidate a “bundle” of checks. As for her opponent Donald Trump? There’s no way to tell, as he has not made any moves to release information on his campaign bundlers.
Though federal campaign law requires the disclosure only of bundlers who are registered lobbyists, most White House candidates in recent elections have opted to share a fuller list of names. But in the last presidential election, Mitt Romney became the first major-party nominee since 2000 to keep his bundlers private, and so far, Trump has done the same.
While Clinton has released a list, her campaign is disclosing less than previous Democratic candidates. In 2008 and 2012, bundlers were grouped in tiers — those who gathered between $50,000 and $100,000, between $100,000 and $200,000, between $200,000 and $500,000, and more than $500,000. Clinton has instead simply released the names of everyone who has bundled more than $100,000, with no specifics about amounts raised beyond that.
This makes it more difficult to tell just how much has been bundled beyond that minimum number near $50 million, as bundlers could be contributing exactly at her threshold of $100,000 or into seven figures. With that in mind, Clinton’s minimum bundling figures are about on track with what both Obama and John McCain had done at this point in the 2008 cycle, but she lags far behind what Obama had reported receiving at this point in 2012. With at least $49.6 million raised, if each bundler has contributed at her disclosure threshold of $100,000, she has scarcely a third of the minimum $142.9 million Obama had bundled at the time. As you might expect, less money means fewer bundlers — 496 for Clinton so far, compared to 638 for Obama.
Obama finished the 2012 election with at least $186.5 million bundled by 769 individuals. It’s worth noting, however, that these figures can’t be directly compared, as Obama had a minimum reporting threshold of $50,000 versus Clinton’s $100,000 and gave further information about those who had bundled at least $200,000 or $500,000. If we count only Obama’s $100,000-plus bundlers, as Clinton does, he finished the election with at least $178.1 million bundled by 601 individuals.
In terms of industry breakdown, her list shows a familiar pattern, with the same sectors that made up Obama’s top bundlers doing the same for Clinton. Lawyers and lobbyists have bundled the most for her, to the tune of $10.8 million, followed by securities and investment (think Wall Street) with $6.4 million and then business services (advertising, management consulting and the like) with $6.3 million.
Clinton’s list does include several big names who never bundled for Obama, including billionaire tech exec Sean Parker, who hosted a fundraising dinner for Clinton in June; former Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides, who was rumored for a top spot on Clinton’s campaign team but instead has stayed in his current role at banking giant Morgan Stanley; and investor Haim Saban, who with his wife Cheryl has given more than $10 million to Priorities USA Action, a pro-Clinton super PAC. Also on the list are N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo; former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar; Google CFO Ruth Porat, who once held the same position at Morgan Stanley; and lawyer Vernon Jordan, a close adviser to Bill Clinton during his presidency. Add in some siblings of Clinton elites: Tony Podesta, brother of campaign chairman John, and Heba Abedin, sister of top aide Huma.
There are also several members of Congress bundling for Clinton who did not do so for Obama— Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Steve Israel (D-NY), Jim Himes (D-CT), Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Jared Polis (D-CO). There’s additionally a set of freshman House members fundraising for Clinton: Reps. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Grace Meng (D-NY) and John Delaney (D-MD). Clinton’s VP pick Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) was also listed as a bundler, though it’s not clear if this is based on fundraising activity conducted before he was on the ticket.
Obama, though, had his share of A-listers bundling money for him who have not yet done so for Clinton. Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stands out, as do Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and alternative medicine guru Deepak Chopra. And some big names from the entertainment industry seem not to be as star-struck by Clinton as they were by Obama — actress Eva Longoria, fashion designer Tom Ford, singer Gwen Stefani, producer Tyler Perry, actor Jared Leto, MGM Picture Group president Jon Glickman, Warner Brothers CEO Barry Meyer, and actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith.
The Clinton and Trump campaigns did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication. We will add their replies if we hear from them.