Rick Perry and Mitt Romney bankrolled by big donors: Refuse to name all their “bundlers”

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WASHINGTON–GOP White House hopefuls Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the front-runners for the Republican nomination, raised most of their campaign cash through large donations, new third quarter fund-raising totals reveal. Neither of them disclose more than the legal minimum when it comes to the names of the “bundlers” who are helping to bankroll their campaigns.

The third quarter numbers also show that Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman are all at least a million dollars behind their rivals when it comes to amount of cash on hand they reported on Sept. 30, the end of the third quarter.

According to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, only four percent of Perry’s donations came in small contributions compared to 10 percent for Romney. Huntsman, struggling to raise money, also had only 4 percent come from small donors.

Perry and Romney rely heavily on larger checks for their third quarter haul: $13.9 million for Romney and $17.1 million for Perry.

Other Republicans have a broader fund-raising base, but they are no where near their top rivals in collections. Michele Bachmann has 52 percent small donors compared to 50 percent for Herman Cain, 48 percent for Ron Paul, 43 percent for Gingrich and 21 percent for Santorum.

Under a law effective in March, 2009, federal candidates must report the names of federal lobbyists who raise more than $16,000 in a two month period. That’s a pretty limited universe when it comes to national fund-raising for a presidential campaign.

President Obama voluntarily discloses the names of people who raise $50,000 and more for him, with his third quarter list growing to about 350, up about 100 from the previous quarter. Obama has a lot of big donors–and many small ones. Obama’s re-election campaign, Obama for America, raised money jointly with the Democratic National Committee. If looking only at OFA, the small donations accounted for 46 percent, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis–but the bigger picture should take into account both funds.

“Bundlers” are well connected individuals who use their extensive personal and professional networks to raise money. Bundlers are critical to federal presidential candidates who are trying to raise millions of dollars while faced with federal contribution limits of $2,500 per person for the primary election and $2,500 for the general election.

Cash on hand third quarter

Rick Santorum (R) $189,557

Jon Huntsman (R) $327,615

Newt Gingrich (R) $353,417

Herman Cain (R)$1,333,779

Michele Bachmann (R)$1,339,184

Ron Paul (R) $3,674,768

Mitt Romney (R) $14,656,966

Rick Perry (R) $15,078,415

Barack Obama (D) $61,403,711

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