Lobbyists have so far raised $7 million for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, while Donald Trump’s campaign reports he has collected $0 from K Street fundraisers.
These numbers, derived from Federal Election Commission reports filed Friday, highlight the different approaches being taken by the two candidates.
Relying on lobbyists to raise, or bundle, contributions is a strategy employed by presidential candidates in both parties for several elections. But Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, has been reluctant to rely on traditional fundraising practices as part of a campaign where he has portrayed himself as an outsider candidate who is not beholden to campaign contributors. That approach has also put him at a fundraising disadvantage against Clinton.
The $7 million figure represents the amount of money that federally registered lobbyists have bundled for the official Clinton campaign since the start of the election cycle in 2015 through June 30. People who raise more than $17,600 from friends, family and colleagues are known as bundlers. Campaigns are required to disclose the names of bundlers if they are registered lobbyists, but are not required to disclose the names of all bundlers.
In addition, lobbyists have raised $2 million for the Hillary Victory Fund, the campaign’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee, since 2015.
By comparison, Trump’s official campaign nor its joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee, Trump Victory, reported any lobbyist bundlers. That is unusual for a Republican presidential candidate, but Trump has sought to distance himself from the GOP establishment, including K Street, during his campaign.
It’s possible registered lobbyists have bundled some money for Trump but not enough to trigger the $17,600 disclosure threshold.
About a third of the $7 million — roughly $2.4 million — for Clinton was bundled by a handful of veteran Democratic lobbyists. This list includes some of K Street’s premier fundraisers, who represent a broad range of industries and Fortune 500 companies. Most are top partners or founders of prominent lobby firms, while one is the leader of an influential trial lawyers group. They are:
- David Jones, who raised $763,000 for the campaign and $116,000 for the Hillary Victory Fund
- Richard Sullivan, who raised $546,000 for the campaign and $445,000 for the victory fund
- Heather Podesta, who raised $407,000 for the campaign
- Steve Elmendorf, who raised $341,000 for the campaign and $73,000 for the victory fund
- Linda Lipsen, who raised $320,000 for the campaign and $144,000 for the victory fund
The lobbyists either declined to comment or did not return requests for comment.
Jones and Sullivan, both partners at Capitol Counsel, have longtime ties to the Clinton fundraising operation. Jones, who is on the finance committee for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, served in a similar role for Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign. Sullivan was previously national finance director for the DNC under President Clinton as well as national fundraising director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The firm lobbies on behalf of companies such as Genentech, RiteAid, Wal Mart and Cardinal Health.
Elmendorf, a top adviser to former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, runs the lobby firm Subject Matter, which counts as clients Facebook, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Podesta, founder and CEO of her eponymous firm, is one of the city’s most well-known lobbyists whose clients include Cigna, Fitbit, Herbalife and NextEra Energy. Lipsen, the longtime top lobbyist for the American Association of Justice — previously known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America — became the group’s CEO in 2010.
Other lobbyists that raised significant cash for Clinton include Tony Podesta of Podesta Group — the brother of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman — who raised $268,000 for the campaign and $31,000 for the victory fund; and Holly Macarro of Ietan Consulting, a former Clinton White House staffer on Indian affairs, who raised $431,000 for the victory fund.