Romney Campaign Sleepwalks into "Name Your Bundlers" Story

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 16 2012 9:37 AM

Romney Campaign Sleepwalks into "Name Your Bundlers" Story

Floating Condi Rice's name as a possible VP pick didn't really change the Bain storyline. Neither did Mitt Romney's Modified Full Ginsburg* of TV interviews. Today, the campaign enters Door Number Three, attacking the Obama administration via web ads and soft Fox and Friends interviews over what we typically call "crony capitalism."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



Spot the problem. Obama and Priorities USA are making a series of proud class-war arguments when they attack Bain. Among them: The accusation (which happens to be true) that Mitt Romney's benefited from regressive tax cuts, and his own tax cuts would enrich him further, and enrich his donors. We haven't heard that used against many candidates, but we haven't had many candidates as rich as Romney. (Adjusted for inflation, I think he'd be the president with the greatest personal wealth since Jefferson. Depends on how you want to calculate JFK's wealth.)

The Romney response: Obama has crafted policy to help his donors. The proof is in disclosures which reveal how Obama campaign bundlers also invested in companies that got government contracts. George Kaiser fund-raised for the Obama campaign and invested in Solyndra, and by 2010 he was worrying -- correctly! -- that reporters would suss him out as the company sputtered.

Got it? We've arrived at the logic problem. We know that Obama's bundlers stood to gain if, say, Solyndra did well, because Obama's campaigns have disclosed the names of bundlers. But the Romney campaign hasn't disclosed the names of bundlers.

So, this morning, the Romney campaign made Ed Gillespie available to talk about the new line. "Do you want to have an economy in which political appointees in D.C. make decisions about where tax money is spent based on who contributors were in the last cycle?" asked Gillespie, rhetorically.

NBC's Peter Alexander asked the natural follow-up: Would Romney's campaign reveal who its bundlers were? That way, you know, people could determine, now or in 2013, whether they were benefiting from Romney policy.

The issue here is the, uh, not so much the appointments and that kind of thing," said Gillespie. "It's the contracts, the subsidies, the loan guarantees... Gov. Romney's contributors are made public, they're disclosed, and we're gonna continue to do that... we make public our donors."

Sure, the names of people who donate more than $200 are disclosed in FEC reports. But Gillespie refused to say whether Romney would take the extra, always-damaging step of disclosing who bundled (stacked up donations from other people) for the campaign.

All of this occurs as the Senate prepares to vote on (and kill with a cloture vote) the new version of the campaign finance DISCLOSE Act.

*The "full Ginsburg" means a tour of all the Sunday shows, named for the power drive that attorney William Ginsburg hit during the Clinton scandal. Romney did his tour on Friday, of different shows.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 3:07 PM Everything Is a "Women's Issue"
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.