Washington – An exclusive group of about two dozen Connecticut residents has raised millions of dollars to help put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
These mostly wealthy contributors – after reaching their personal federal contribution caps of $2,700 for a primary and $2,700 for a general election – have “bundled” contributions, which means they have turned to friends, associates and anyone else willing to give to a candidate.
According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Richard and Ellen Richman of Greenwich, are among the largest bundlers in Connecticut for Clinton’s campaign. The Richmans have raised more than $1 million – mostly from a $33,000-a-plate fundraiser the couple held in August that featured Clinton.
Some of the money raised at the Richman’s fundraiser went to the Democratic National Committee. which is helping in the effort to put Clinton in the White House.
Several Connecticut lawmakers were also among Clinton’s bundlers.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Jim Himes have each raised at least $100,000 for Clinton’s campaign. So has Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
The Federal Elections Commission requires disclosure only of those bundlers who are registered lobbyists. Then it’s up to the candidate to release information about other bundlers.
Clinton has divulged some information.
Individuals, or couples, who raise or donate at least $100,000 toward Clinton’s presidential bid have been dubbed “Hillblazers” by her campaign, which is voluntarily releasing their names but not the exact amounts they have raised.
The Clinton campaign also has released information about the location of each fundraising event, the name of the host, the minimum donation and the number of attendees.
Donald Trump’s campaign does not routinely release information about fundraisers and has not disclosed its bundlers. There was no immediate response by the Trump campaign to questions about its disclosure policies.
Former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain R-Ariz., disclosed the names of their top bundlers, while 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney did not.
Many bundlers, like the Richman’s and Deborah Robbins of Greenwich, wife of Blue Harbour Group hedge fund CEO Clifton Robbins, held fundraisers for Clinton. Others did not.
But any way it’s done, bundling has clearly helped the Clinton campaign raise more than $445 million.
“Together, 1,129 elites are directing at least $112 million for Clinton’s election efforts – money that has gone into the coffers of her campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee,” the Center for Responsive Politics said.
The Trump campaign has raised about $218 million.
According to the Center for Public Integrity, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, campaign bundlers have often landed perks after the candidate they backed was elected, “including plum ambassadorships, government contracts and access to exclusive White House meetings and social events.”
The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity has determined that dozens of top fundraisers for President Obama were nominated for ambassador posts — often in choice European capitals such as London, Paris and Stockholm.
Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, also rewarded bundlers. For example, Tom Foley, a two-time candidate for governor in Connecticut and a Bush bundler, was made U.S. ambassador to Ireland.
Connecticut “Hillblazers” who have raised at least $100,000 for Clinton include:
Eryn Bingle, Riverside
Richard and Cynthia Blumenthal, Greenwich
Susan Bysiewicz, Middletown
Andrew Fishman, Westport
Francisco X. Gonzalez, Greenwich
Monica Gonzalez Bunster, Greenwich
Debra Hauser, Clinton
Jim Himes, Cos Cob
Dannel Malloy, Hartford
Sue and Steven Mandel, Greenwich
Anne McDermott, Ridgefield
Chris Murphy, Cheshire
Andrew Prozes and Laura Heery Prozes, Greenwich
Richard and Ellen Richman, Greenwich
Deborah Robbins, Greenwich
Vincent Roberti, Kent
Steve Simmons, Greenwich
Sandra Wagenfeld, Westport
Robyn Walsh, Hartford