WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney’s presidential fund-raising operation dwarfs those of his Republican rivals, with more than $75 million already in donations. It also operates mysteriously at times, withholding the names of Romney’s major fund-raisers who have helped amass much of its money.
But a review by the Associated Press of campaign records and other records provides clues to the vast national network of business leaders bringing in millions to put Romney in the Oval Office – with at least two people with Chicago ties on the list.
Romney’s campaign will not identify his major fund-raisers; federal law does not require it. But both GOP and Democratic presidential candidates in recent years routinely provided the identities and money ranges of their top fund-raisers.
So-called “bundlers,” these fund-raisers are typically well-connected business and banking executives who tap their professional and social networks. Through their connections, they can steer individual contributions from others to the campaign in amounts that can range from $10,000 to well over $500,000.
Persuading 25 couples to attend a VIP reception with the candidate for $2,500 each – the maximum an individual can give a campaign – can raise $125,000 in a single evening.
The AP identified likely Romney bundlers through interviews, finance records, event invitations and other publicity about campaign events.
Among the likely top bundlers:
â€ Muneer Satter of Chicago, a managing partner at Goldman Sachs who heads the firm’s Mezzanine Group. Satter was a lead fund-raiser for at least two events for Romney in 2011, one in New York in December and another in Chicago in May, and gave $195,000 to the super PAC supporting Romney. Satter did not return several telephone messages from the AP.
â€ Daniel Dumezich, a partner with the Winston & Strawn law firm in Chicago. Dumezich held fund-raisers for Romney in Indiana and also helped organize volunteers and supporters for the campaign. Dumezich said his goal was to inspire others to support Romney, encouraging them to write checks and to find others to give money.
â€ Stephen Ross, the billionaire owner of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, who hosted a fund-raiser for Romney at his oceanfront home in Palm Beach in January.
â€ Lewis M. Eisenberg, co-chairman for Romney’s campaign in Florida, and who is a senior adviser to the Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts private equity fund, Eisenberg was a lead fund-raiser for Romney events in New York in October and December, and he hosted a reception at a New York law firm in late September.
â€ Former Bain Capital executive Edward Conard, whose anonymous $1 million donation to the super PAC in August spurred controversy until he came forward publicly, was one of the lead fund-raisers for a December Romney event in New York. Conard declined to detail his fund-raising role for the campaign.
â€ Tiger Management head Julian Robertson, hedge fund founders Paul Singer and John Paulson, and businessmen William Koch, Francis Rooney and Frank VanderSloot.
â€ Romney’s largest source of donations is employees at Goldman Sachs, the New York based investment and securities firm. More than $426,000 flowed into the Romney campaign in 2011 from individuals who identified themselves as Goldman Sachs managers or employees, and the Romney campaign has listed several senior or former Goldman Sachs executives as lead fund-raisers of its campaign events.
â€ Donors who listed their employer as JPMorgan accounted for $305,000 in contributions to Romney last year, according to campaign records. More than $283,000 came from individuals who identified Credit Suisse as their place of employment.
This presidential election is expected to be among the costliest ever. President Obama’s re-election campaign has raised just over $151 million. AP