President Barack Obama prides himself on rejecting donations from registered lobbyists, but a newly released list of campaign fundraisers is peppered with leaders from companies and law firms that lobby the federal government.
New bundlers, whose names were released this week, include Anthony Welters, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, and Qualcomm co-founder and former chairman Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan.
Each raised at least $500,000 for the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that includes Obama’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and party committees in several battleground states.
The exact amounts are unknown. The campaign only divulges bundlers’ fundraising activity in broad ranges, with a top category of “more than $500,000.”
Qualcomm has spent at least $6 million each year since 2007 on federally reportable lobbying efforts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. UnitedHealth spent at least $2.5 million annually in the same period.
None of these individuals were bundlers for Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. However, Welters’ wife, Beatrice, raised between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Bundlers are elite political fundraisers who turn to relatives, friends and business associates to raise large sums and deliver the funds in a “bundle” to the candidate. They are often given perks and special access — both on the campaign trail and once politicians are elected.