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Bundlers raising millions for Obama re-elect

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Names and cities of residence for 244 of President Obama's bundlers – rich guys and gals who gather high-dollar contributions from friends, then report them all at the same time – were made public this week, but unless you did some serious digging, you wouldn't know much at all about them.

But thanks to OpenSecrets.org and its money-in-politics reporter Michael Beckel, it is possible to know quite a bit about some of the Obama bundlers.

“Together, these individuals steered at least $34.95 million into the coffers of Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to a Center for Responsive Politics tally,” Beckel reports on the OpenSecrets blog.

“That represents about 40 percent of the $86 million haul the Obama campaign manager Jim Messina announced earlier this week for money coming into Obama's re-election campaign and the joint fund-raising committee set up to benefit both Obama and the DNC.”

But, as Beckel notes, the Obama campaign released minimal information about each individual bundler, including only name, city and state of residence, and the amount raised.

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“Want to know which Michael Smith of Los Angeles, for instance, is raising money on the president's behalf? Good luck. The campaign provided no further clues, such as Zip code, employer or occupation, to discern which Michael Smith it was among the scores who live in L.A. — although maybe it's the one Obama appointed to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House last year,” Beckel said.

Somehow I have a hunch that Beckel might be to something here!

Among other things, the Obama campaign no doubt is also seeking to make it as difficult as possible for outsiders to figure out how much money is being contributed to the re-election effort by K Street lobbyists.

On the Republican side, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney released the names of six lobbyists who are bundling contributions on his behalf.

Here's Beckel's look at one of the Romney bundlers, Patrick J. Durkin of Barclays bank, who bundled $167,800:

“Durkin was also a top fund-raiser for President George W. Bush. He was one of the famed 'Pioneers' in 2000, who bundled at least $100,000 for Bush, and during the 2004 election, he earned Bush's 'Ranger' status, bundling at least $200,000. Durkin did not contribute to Romney's 2008 presidential bid, but he did give the then-legal maximum of $2,300 to Republican John McCain, the eventual party nominee.”

Beckel has a bunch more information on this issue, which you can digest here.

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