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Filings reveal previously unknown Romney bundlers

Nearly six-dozen lobbyists collected $17 million for the GOP presidential candidate

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Sixty-nine lobbyists collectively raised more than $17.3 million for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign during the 2012 election cycle, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records, including new reports filed tonight.

Six federally registered lobbyists bundled more than $1 million for Romney's election efforts, the Center's analysis found, with Bill Graves of the American Trucking Association raising the most at nearly $1.8 million.

Other top bundlers included David Beightol of Dutko Grayling ($1.6 million), Dirk Van Dongen of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors ($1.4 million), Bill Simmons of Dutko Grayling ($1.3 million), Patrick J. Durkin of Barclays ($1.1 million) and Robert T. Grand of Barnes & Thornburg LLP ($1 million).

The money the nearly six-dozen lobbyist-bundlers raised not only benefited the official campaign committee of the former Massachusetts governor but also the Romney Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that split its receipts between Romney, the Republican National Committee and several other GOP groups.

Tonight's newly filed documents reveal the names of five individuals who have not previously been reported to the FEC as bundlers.

They are:

  • Robert Smith of Venable LLP, who raised $50,000 for Romney over the past six months;
  • Lance Leggitt of Baker Donelson, who raised $24,825;
  • Thomas Worrall of Whitmer & Worrall, LLC, who raised $21,000;
  • Peter Rich of Rich Feuer Anderson, who raised $20,000; and
  • Adam W. Salerno of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who raised $17,530

Bundlers are elite political fundraisers who turn to relatives, friends and business associates to raise large sums and then deliver the funds in a “bundle” to the candidate. They are often rewarded for their efforts with perks and special access.

Romney, unlike President Barack Obama, did not voluntarily release a list of major bundlers. But because of a 2007 law passed in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal, all federal candidates are required to report information about the lobbyists who bundle money for their campaigns.

Obama himself did not accept contributions from registered lobbyists, nor did any lobbyists bundle money for his campaign, although some individuals with ties to the influence industry did.

Why is 2013 an important year for campaign finance? Dave Levinthal and Michael Beckel will answer that, and many other questions about the money-in-politics world in a live chat on Monday, Feb. 4, at 1 p.m. ET.