Group Seeks the Names of Edwards' Backers
The candidate's campaign declines to identify its top fundraisers, who one watchdog calls 'the new power brokers.'
WASHINGTON â€" A campaign finance watchdog
group on Thursday called on North Carolina Sen. John
Edwards to release the names of his top presidential
fundraisers before Super Tuesday â€" a request
the Edwards campaign said it would decline.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said it sent
a letter to Edwards after he and his staff declined to
respond to repeated phone calls and e-mails seeking the
names of those supporters who have collected the most
donations for his presidential campaign.
"We're not releasing any names. That's our policy," said
Edwards' campaign spokesperson Kim Rubey.
Campaign disclosure laws do not require candidates to
reveal the names of their top fundraisers.
But President Bush and Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry,
the Democratic presidential front-runner, have released the
names of supporters who have raised at least $50,000 in
Because of changes in campaign finance law, some candidates
now rely on lobbyists and business leaders to help collect
contributions of as much as $2,000 per candidate per
election. When bundled, these contributions can amount to
tens of thousands of dollars.
Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for
Responsive Politics, said he thought the names of top
fundraisers should be made public in the presidential race
because of their potential influence in the White House. He
calls them "the new power brokers."
"These are people who are going to be wielding a certain
amount of influence if Sen. Edwards becomes president. We
feel the public has a right to know who these people are,"
"â€¦ As you and others have said during
the presidential campaign, special interests have enormous
clout in Washington," the letter stated. "One measure of
that clout is the amount of money individuals associated
with a particular interest group contribute to
The Edwards campaign said it did not plan to release the
names of its top fundraisers because it didn't raise money
the way the Bush campaign did.
The Bush campaign has rewarded its top fundraisers with
special parties and access to the president or his top
"We don't systematically raise our money in that fashion,"
Rubey said. She emphasized that the campaign was not
accepting donations from registered federal lobbyists or
from political action committees.
When asked, however, if anyone had raised more than $50,000
for the Edwards campaign, Rubey said she would have to
Jennifer Palmieri, another Edwards spokeswoman, said the
campaign did not have an organized program in which
supporters were bundling contributions for the senator's
"Sen. Edwards does not have a bundling fund-raising program
similar to Bush's 'Pioneers' or 'Rangers' programs,"
Palmieri said. She cited compliance with other disclosure
rules about donors and reiterated his refusal to accept
money from lobbyists.
The Bush campaign lists on its website 165 "Rangers"
â€" those supporters who have raised at least
$200,000 for the president's reelection â€" and
251 "Pioneers," those who have brought in at least
The Kerry campaign last October named 32 fundraisers who
had collected $100,000 and 87 who had raised at least
$50,000. In doing so, Kerry said he was trying to "improve
transparency" in his campaign.
"I hope that every presidential candidate will show their
commitment to transparency by releasing the same
information from their campaigns," Kerry said at the time.
See the article on Los Angeles Times website