Nov. 14, 2003
As Bush’s “Dash for Cash Tour” Tops $100 Million, 24 New Contributors Added to List of Rangers and Pioneers
WhiteHouseForSale.org Web Site Features Searchable Database with Information About 309 Rangers and Pioneers Identified by Bush-Cheney ’04
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bush-Cheney re-election campaign’s unprecedented $100 million fundraising effort over the past six months has relied on super-donors – 309 contributors who have attained elite status with the Bush organization, including 24 new bundlers named this week, according to WhiteHouseForSale.org.
WhiteHouseForSale.org, a Web site launched by Public Citizen in conjunction with Texans for Public Justice to track contributors to Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, has posted the names of the new Rangers and Pioneers, along their home states, employers and occupations. The Bush campaign now has 106 Rangers, those fundraisers who bundle $200,000 in individual contributions, and 203 Pioneers, who each have brought in $100,000. In addition, the campaign has identified four new Mavericks – the title given to fundraisers under age 40 who bring in at least $50,000.
“President Bush claims the political season hasn’t started, yet his campaign already has held more than 75 fundraisers,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. “For his well-connected donors and interest groups he’s pushing Congress and agencies to give tax breaks, subsidies, and rollbacks in federal regulations. It seems the only people who can get a moment with the president these days are those bundling boatloads of $2,000 checks.”
Among those new to the list are ex-EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, a Ranger who is one of four new top fundraisers from Alabama. California boasts five new Rangers and Pioneers, including state Senate Republican Leader James L. Brulte and Thomas Nassif of the Western Growers Association, a Ranger who is serving on the transition team of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A fully updated chart showing the state-by-state breakdown of Bush’s biggest backers is available at WhiteHouseForSale.org.
Other notables newly minted as Pioneers include leading GOP lobbyists Charles and Judy Black; William McGuire, CEO of United Health Care Group; Paul Singer, manager of the $3.5 billion hedge fund group Elliott Capital Advisers; and Warren Staley, CEO of agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. Three other individuals previously recognized as Pioneers now have been anointed Rangers: former U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz of Minnesota, Arizona auto dealer James Click, and California hotelier Duane Roberts.
“With every new Pioneer and Ranger, Bush distances himself further from the principles of democracy and embraces the notion that government is for sale to the highest bidders,” said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice. “Riding on the checkbooks of his mega-bundlers, Bush is well on his way to becoming the all-time champion of political fundraising.”
Bush may collect as much as $200 million prior to the Republican National Convention – more than four times the amount a candidate who remains in the public financing system can raise and spend. Even though the president faces no opposition in the primaries, the campaign has now raised more money than it did during the entire 2000 presidential primaries, according to WhiteHouseForSale.org.
WhiteHouseForSale.org features an updated, searchable database of all the individuals named Rangers or Pioneers by the Bush campaign as well as a comprehensive list of past and future campaign fundraisers headlined by Bush, Vice President Cheney or First Lady Laura Bush.
In the 2004 campaign, 200 Rangers or Pioneers are new to Bush’s list of big-money bundlers, while 109 were Pioneers in the 2000 election cycle. (The Ranger designation was not used in that campaign.) Information about all of the donors from the 2004 and 2000 campaigns is at WhiteHouseForSale.org.
The Bush-Cheney fundraising juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down. Bush raised $2.6 million at a pair of $2,000-a-plate events in Florida on Thursday, capping a week that included nine other fundraisers nationwide featuring the president, his wife or Cheney. The vice president will speak at another event today in New York City. Six more fundraisers are scheduled before Thanksgiving in upstate New York, Ohio, Arizona and Nevada.
“Bush may be only halfway to his outrageous fundraising goal,” said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, “but he has already accomplished his mission of destroying the presidential public financing system. We need to fix this system so that politicians listen to average citizens instead of wealthy corporate interests.”