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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Podesta Bundling

Our chapter on interest groups has a photo essay on the powerful Podesta family. And the Podestas are again in the news, as iWatch News reports at Politico:

If there was any doubt about whether Tony and Heather Podesta qualify as one of Washington’s top power couples, it can now be erased.

The pair, already known as top-tier Democratic donors and lobbyists, appear back to back at the top of the Federal Election Commission’s database of lobbyist bundlers. The Podestas bundled more than $320,000 each in campaign contributions in the first six months of this year, blowing away the nearest competitors and setting themselves up to make an early impact in what’s likely to be the most expensive political cycle in American history.


The largest bundler so far is Tony Podesta, with just under $350,000 bundled to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the campaign of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

It should be no surprise that Podesta’s money has gone exclusively to Democrats. One of GQ’s 2009 “50 Most Powerful People in D.C.,” Podesta is wired into the Democratic establishment — his brother John served as Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff and more recently acted as President Barack Obama’s transition team co-chairman while running the left-leaning Center for American Progress. His Podesta Group is one of the most powerful lobbying entities in Washington, with clients ranging from the American Meat Institute, to Duke Energy, to Sallie Mae. Since the start of the year, his firm has brought in at least $13.7 million in contracts.

Podesta told iWatch News that the $350,000 total seemed low to him and said he intended to continue bundling through the rest of the cycle with no set goal in mind. When asked whether he was surprised by being the top bundler lobbyist in the database, Podesta replied, “No surprises ever.”