Government Watchdog Groups Press Mitt Romney to Reveal Bundler Information


Today the Campaign Legal Center joined with the Center for Responsive Politics and six other transparency advocates and good government groups launched a petition requesting that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney disclose the names of "bundlers" for his campaign.

Presidential candidates rely on these men and women, an elite group of fundraisers, to help raise the big dollars they need to run for the White House. While there are limits on how much individuals can give to a campaign, bundlers tap their own personal and professional networks to raise tens of thousands -- if not millions -- of dollars.

So far, Romney has disclosed the bare minimum, only what's required by law: the names of bundlers who are also federally registered lobbyists. That's a grand total of 25 people.

The groups joining with the in the petition drive include the Center for Responsive Politics and the Campaign Legal Center include Common Cause, Democracy21, League of Women Voters of the United States, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation and U.S. PIRG.

The groups sent a formal request to Mitt Romney's campaign on March 12 asking that he release information about his bundlers to the public. We've received no response.

That's despite the fact that every major party nominee for the last 12 years has publicly disclosed a list of his bundlers -- including Romney himself in 2008.

And despite the fact that President Obama's campaign has been releasing the names of all of his bundlers, with updates. As of July 15, he had disclosed 532 bundlers, none of whom are federal lobbyists.

Why is it important for the public to know the identities of the top fundraisers for a presidential candidate? After a candidate wins, top bundlers traditionally have been rewarded for their hard work -- often with choice ambassadorial appointments or special invitations to the White House. Access to those in power is much easier for these individuals than it is for the average American.

Voters should know who is likely to have these special relationships with the candidate, and to whom the candidate may feel most grateful.

Now the groups are asking individuals and other groups to add their voices to the call for Romney to disclose the names of his bundlers -- all of them, not just the lobbyists.

The coalition of groups first petitioned Romney when it sent a letter to all Republican presidential candidates March 12 requesting they meet the standard of complete bundler disclosure. The Center for Responsive Politics has launched a widget counting the months, days, hours and minutes since we sent the letter, with this essential information still kept from the public. Groups or individuals interested in embedding that widget on their websites are welcome to do so.

Click here to view the petition