Tags: GOP2016 | megadonors | bundlers | super PACs

GOP's 2016 Megadonors Relegate Bundlers to 'Minor Leagues'

Thursday, 26 Mar 2015 12:17 PM

The moderately rich are just not rich enough when it comes to Republican presidential candidates looking for super wealthy donors to launch their campaign war chests, according to The Washington Post.

Bundlers are taking a back seat for the time being to billionaires who can dish out million-dollar checks to super PACs without even having to think twice about the size of their bank balance.

Oklahoma City entrepreneur Terry Neese, a former "Ranger" for President George W. Bush, who raised $1 million for his re-election, was a popular person during the 2012 presidential race.

"I was hearing from everyone and meeting with everyone," said Neese, the founder of an employment agency, while noting that this year not one likely White House candidate has contacted him, including Bush's brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"They are only going to people who are multi-multimillionaires and billionaires and raising big money first," said Neese, who once turned down an offer to serve as director of the U.S. Mint. "Most people I talk to are kind of rolling their eyes and saying, 'you know, we just don't count anymore.' "

The Post says that the bundlers have lost their platinum prestige and been "downgraded" temporarily to watch from a distance as probable presidential contenders battle it out for the big bucks available from the super-rich.

Fundraisers are finding it hard to compete in the race for major cash donations for 2016 in a GOP crowded field, in which Bush leads the way while urging megadonors to not give more than $1 million to his super PAC right now, the Post reported.

"A couple presidential elections ago, somebody who had raised $100,000 for a candidate was viewed as a fairly valuable asset," said Washington lobbyist Kenneth Kies. "Today, that looks like peanuts. People like me are probably looking around saying, 'how can I do anything that even registers on the Richter scale?' "

And Bobbie Kilberg, a top Republican fundraiser in Virginia who gathered $4 million for Mitt Romney, told the newspaper, "bundlers felt they were part of the process and made a difference, and therefore were delighted to participate.

"But when you look at super-PAC money and the large donations that we're seeing, the regular bundlers feel a little disenfranchised."

However, David Wilkins, a South Carolina lawyer who became ambassador to Canada after bundling $200,000 for George W. Bush, said, "I don't think you ever take the place of folks out trying to generate funds. You'll never supplant that, because it all adds up."

Last weekend at the Republican National Committee's spring retreat in Boca Raton, Fla., likely presidential hopefuls, such as Bush, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal were seeking out high rollers, according to the Post.

On Sunday, the governors attended a private Republican Governors Association fundraiser hosted by billionaire conservative industrialist David Koch at his beachfront mansion.

The Post added that one veteran GOP fundraiser summed up the change by saying that traditional bundlers have been sent down to the "minor leagues," while megadonors are "the major league players."

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The moderately rich are just not rich enough when it comes to Republican presidential candidates looking for super wealthy donors to launch their campaign war chests, according to The Washington Post.
megadonors, bundlers, super PACs
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2015-17-26
Thursday, 26 Mar 2015 12:17 PM
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