Jan. 29, 2008

Lobbyists Playing Bigger Role in Presidential Fundraising

New Public Citizen Study Finds John McCain, Rudy Giuliani Lead the Field With Number of Lobbyist-Bundlers in Their Campaigns

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The number of lobbyists raising money for the 2008 presidential candidates already has eclipsed the total for the entire 2004 campaign, according to a Public Citizen study released Tuesday.

So far, candidates still in the race have recruited 142 federal lobbyists to raise money for their campaigns, compared to 136 lobbyist fundraisers in 2004.

A clearinghouse of the 2008 presidential candidates’ big fundraisers is available at the Public Citizen-maintained Web site www.WhiteHouseforSale.org.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has 59 lobbyist-bundlers raising money for him, almost twice as many as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has the second-highest number. Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) has garnered the most support from lobbyists, 20, a predictable outcome because her two main remaining competitors have eschewed support from individuals currently serving as lobbyists.

"The increasing involvement of lobbyists in fundraising is a worrisome trend," said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. "It underscores the need to update the presidential public financing system so that presidential candidates won’t rely on influence peddlers to fuel their campaigns."

The roster of known lobbyist-bundlers for McCain grew substantially on Monday, when his campaign held a fundraiser at a tony Washington steakhouse. Among 29 co-chairs listed on an invitation for the event were 24 registered lobbyists. Lists of the lobbyists raising money for each candidate are included in the study’s appendix.

READ the Public Citizen study.