President Obama’s re-election campaign has given several hundred of its best-connected fundraising bundlers a tall order: dig into their well-heeled contacts to deliver $700,000 each in donations before the 2012 election.
The Obama campaign has requested that bundlers raise $350,000 in combined donations to the campaign and the Democratic National Committee in both 2011 and 2012. This is a significant increase over the $250,000 goal posed to bundlers by the Obama campaign in the lead-up to the 2008 presidential primaries. However, then individual contributors could give a maximum of $2,300 per year. Now that Obama is the incumbent and has the full support of the DNC, major donors can give up to $35,800 per year—$2,500 to the campaign’s primary funds, $2,500 to its general election funds, and $30,800 to the DNC.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, some 500 bundlers raised $76.5 million for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. If that many bundlers were to meet the campaign’s goals this year, their contribution would be a stunning $350 million.
Being a successful bundler for a winning presidential campaign has its perks. Jeff Bleich, a lawyer who raised at least $500,000 for Obama’s 2008 campaign, is currently ambassador to Australia. Cynthia Stroum, a Seattle-based venture capitalist, also bundled at least $500,000 for Obama’s 2008 campaign (plus $300,000 for his inauguration) and served as ambassador to Luxembourg for just over a year until this January, when she resigned amid widespread complaints about her management style.
A bit further back, in 2001, President George W. Bush nominated a lawyer and lobbyist named Chris Christie who had helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for his 2000 campaign to become U.S. attorney for New Jersey. A decade later, the political world knows Christie as the governor of New Jersey and one of the Republican Party’s biggest stars.