Legal, Financial and Real Estate Industries Dominate Presidential Fundraising, Study Shows
Report by Public Citizen and Campaign Finance Institute Details Campaign Bundling
WASHINGTON - December 20 - More than half the major fundraisers for the presidential campaigns hail from just three segments of the U.S. economy: lawyers and law firms, representing both corporate and consumer interests; the financial sector; and real estate, according to a joint study released Thursday by Public Citizen and the Campaign Finance Institute.
These industries account for more than 1,100 of the major fundraisers for the presidential candidates. In contrast, most of the 70 major industries represented in the study furnished 15 or fewer major fundraisers, often called “bundlers.”
“Bundlers are a highly concentrated bunch. The paltry number of people who bankroll campaigns shows this private fundraising system is broken,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. “Congress must require far more transparency in disclosing bundling activity if it wants to fix the presidential public financing system.”
The study tallies the number of major fundraisers furnished by each industry and breaks down each industry’s fundraisers by party and candidate.
The two candidates who provide the most details about their bundlers, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, appear to have received more than half their money from these fundraisers. Though other candidates have been less forthcoming about the details of their fundraising operations, there is no indication that they rely any less on major fundraisers than Clinton and Obama.
The study points to the need to modernize the presidential public financing system so candidates need not rely on deep-pocketed, special-interest donors to run competitive campaigns.