Obama Has Big-Money Donors, Too

Billionaires and so-called bundlers account for half
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2008 1:49 PM CDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., smiles as he speaks at a town hall meeting at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Ind., Thursday, April 10, 2008.    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama has made much of his grass-roots fundraising, but he’s no stranger to big-money donors, the Washington Post reports. Seventy-nine bundlers—deep-pocketed backers who use their contacts to drum up even more cash—have wrangled up more than $200,000 each for the senator. Five billionaires are on the team, and donations of more than $200 account for roughly half of the $240 million that Obama’s raised so far.

Some big donors seem to have agendas at odds with Obama’s platform. Billionaire Kenneth Griffin, for example, donated while lobbying for a tax cut. Obama opposed the cut anyway. “Ken’s a smart guy, and I guess he’s done the math and decided that Barack is the best candidate,” said one businessman. But most Obama bundlers say they’re not looking for favors. “I had never raised a nickel for anybody,” said one. “But I just found him to be totally captivating and moving.”