According to a study released by the Sunlight Foundation, $17.1 million has been bundled by lobbyists since 2009 and given to 76 recipients in Congress. Bundling refers to the practice of an outside supporter raising money from multiple donors on behalf of the recipient.
The top five recipients of bundled money since 2009 were the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with $4.47 million; the National Republican Senatorial Committee with $2.30 million; the National Republican Congressional Committee with $1.68 million; Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) with $1.14 million; and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) with $715,564, according to Sunlight’s findings.
The top bundlers were a collection of electric utilities and several lobbying organizations in Washington:
The top five bundlers were Edison Electric Institute with $2.12 million; Ben Barnes Group with $815,750; Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck with $641,925; Podesta Group with $558,350; and Ietan Consulting with $489,400, according to Sunlight.
The organizations involved in the bundling have lobbied Congress on Clean Air Act regulations, climate change legislation, health care, and other issues.
One of the lobbying firms, the Podesta Group, is run by Tony Podesta, a former Democratic fundraiser whose brother has links to the Obama White House:
The obvious friction between Mr. Podesta and the White House has an added dimension; his brother and former partner, John Podesta, headed up Mr. Obama’s presidential transition and is a crucial presidential ally.
Many of the recipients of bundled money were on the supercommittee tasked with cutting $1.2 trillion from the federal budget. It ended in failure earlier this month.