A few weeks before the Republican primary in Florida in January, the billionaire owner of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins hosted a fundraiser for Mitt Romney at his oceanfront home in Palm Beach. The average voter wouldn’t know about the event at the home of Stephen Ross because Romney’s campaign doesn’t follow the practice of other major presidential candidates who have willingly identified big-money fundraisers and the amounts they collect. A review by The Associated Press of campaign records and other documents reveals hints about the vast national network of business leaders bringing in millions to elect Romney. The same month that Ross invited friends and colleagues to his home, for example, Romney’s campaign received $317,000 from nearly 150 people who share Ross’s exclusive ZIP code on Florida’s east coast, according to Federal Election Commission records. That mysterious surge of donations outpaced all contributions to Romney during the previous year from the wealthy Palm Beach area, when the campaign collected $270,000 over nine months. Romney got $21,000 more from residents there in February.
Unlike President Barack Obama, Romney’s campaign will not identify his major fundraisers, and federal law doesn’t require him to. The AP identified several of Romney’s “bundlers” through interviews, finance records, event invitations and other publicity about campaign events. The lack of transparency by the Romney campaign prevents voters from knowing who wields influence inside the GOP frontrunner’s campaign and how their interests might benefit if he is elected. Romney is in California this week for at least five private fundraisers.
Bundlers are typically well-connected business and banking executives who tap their professional and social networks to steer individual contributions from others to the campaign in amounts that can range from $10,000 to well over $500,000. Experienced bundlers can reach these highest amounts quickly. Persuading 25 couples to attend a VIP reception with the candidate for $2,500 each — the maximum an individual can give a campaign — raises $125,000 in a single evening.
Even in the era of “super” political action committees, which can pull in millions of dollars in unlimited and effectively anonymous contributions to support candidates, bundlers are their own campaign forces. Unlike super PACs, which can’t legally coordinate with candidates, bundlers raise large amounts deposited directly into a campaign’s bank account — money that can be spent to pay for salaries, get-out-the-vote efforts and advertising.
Full Article: Romney’s fundraisers are quietly amassing millions – WSJ.com.