Bundlers and Romney, Take Two

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 16 2012 2:45 PM

Bundlers and Romney, Take Two

John Nolte of Breitbart.com* was on today's first Romney clean-up call, and he takes issue with the story NBC News and I (separately!) took away from it.

Compare the media's outrage over Romney not naming his bundlers (who are probably worried about being bullied by Obama) and the media's reaction to Obama's stunning lack of disclosure in 2008…
By September of 2008, over half of the $430 million Obama raised came from small donors who came in under the legal disclosure limit. Obama refused to release those names and the media all but ignored McCain (who disclosed all donors large and small) when he criticized Obama over this. Oh, and don't forget this.   
That's right, we still have no idea who donated a huge chunk of Obama's haul in 2008 and the media still doesn’t care. But bundlers they care about. Unless, of course, those are Obama bundlers who received billions of our tax dollars.
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The difference between lots of small-dollar donors and a small number of big-dollar donors was actually explained well by the Romney campaign. There's a worry that people who spend big on campaigns will be rewarded, later, with taxpayer money -- ambassadorships, government grants, etc. The Obama campaign of 2012, like the campaign of 2008, like the Bush and McCain campaigns, has been disclosing the names of the fundraisers who bundle at least $50,000. Neat -- we have a laminate-and-save guide to numerous rich people, and can ask what they want from the next president. It's just difficult for the Romney campaign to decry the possible perfidy of bundlers if they don't also reveal who their bundlers are. Perhaps they're all saintly souls bereft of personal greed or self-interest! It'd still be useful to check.

*It's been well reported elsewhere, but the degree to which the Romney campaign has brought bloggers and conservative new media into the fold is impressive.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.