President Obama's 2012 campaign manager announced an epic fundraising effort of $86 million for the first quarter, setting up an eviably high bar and leaving his contenders wondering: where is all this money coming from? As it turns out, much of the money comes from "bundlers," defined by Talking Points Memo as "super-donors who are very rich, max out their personal fundraising amounts, and then call on their wealthy friends to do the same." 27 bundlers alone raised more than half a million dollars.
If you peruse the full list of rich bundlers, some of the names will strike you as very familiar: Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue. Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dreamworks CEO. Ari Emanuel, talent agent, Entourage inspiration, and brother of Rahm Emanuel. Jon Corzine, former New Jersey Governor and Goldman Sachs CEO. But apart from the star power, what does this illustrious list tell us about the president's campaign so far?
He's lost many of his major 2008 donors. National Journal notes that both Anna Wintour and Jeffrey Katzenberg raised more than $500,000 for Obama in 2008. But according to ABC News' Devin Dwyer, the list of donors "is also notable for who’s not there." He reports that more than 80 percent of Obama's biggest donors from 2008 received positions inside the administration, according to a recent report, and are now limited in how they can participate in the campaign. However, other major donors are holding back out of disapproval for Obama's leadership.
“I have made it clear I don’t want to get involved,” said Jon Merksamer, 58, a California small business owner who helped raise close to $500,000 for Obama in 2008. “I don’t think he’s been too liberal, or too conservative. I think he’s been too gutless,” he said. "It is a common reaction to become even angrier with people who you’d had hope for that turned out to be such a major disappointment.”
He has made significant outreach to the gay community. Ben Smith at Politico takes a glass-is-half-full approach to the turnover in major donors since 2008, noting that "the new bundlers include usual Democratic suspects who supported Clinton in 2008 and newly energized gay donors." Some of the top gay donors now putting their lot in with Obama are include Chicago's Fred Eychaner, New York's Jeff Soref and Charles Myers, Austin's Eugene Sepulveda, and DNC treasurer Andy Tobias. Smith also lists the former Clinton bundlers that Obama has swept up include Cohen and Corzine, as well as hedge funder Marc Lasry, L.A. fundraiser Noah Mamet, and DNC member Robert Zimmerman.