Healthcare lobbyist bundles big bucks for key Senate Democrats' campaigns

A vital player in the battle over healthcare reform raised the most campaign contributions for Senate Democrats so far this fall, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.

Ken Raske, president and CEO of the Greater New York Hospital Association, collected donations worth more than $152,000 for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) in September alone, according to the latest FEC reports.

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Raske is an important voice in this year’s healthcare debate. His association, representing more than 300 not-for-profit and public hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, has spent more than a $1 million on federal lobbying in 2009 so far. Raske was also one of three hospital association representatives invited to the White House in May for a meeting with President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaObama visits Prince Harry at Kensington Palace White House to share info on ethics waivers White House considering vetting Trump’s tweets: report MORE and other administration officials to discuss healthcare reform.

After Raske, Al Cardenas of Miami-based law firm Tew Cardenas raised the most money among lobbyists this fall.

Cardenas, a former head of the Florida Republican Party, bundled more than $66,200 this fall for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), who is running for the Senate. Crist also collected more than $25,400 from Daniel Murphy of BG&R Group.

Under an ethics law Congress passed in 2007, politicians must report to the FEC lobbyists who have bundled money for their campaigns. A bundler is a person who collects political donations from others and then directs the funds to one candidate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidGOP frustrated by slow pace of Trump staffing This week: Congress awaits Comey testimony Will Republicans grow a spine and restore democracy? MORE (D-Nev.) attracted the most money bundled by lobbyists in the third quarter.

Lobbyists including Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group, Paul DiNino of DiNino Associations, Linda Daschle, wife of ex-Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), and the political action committee for law firm DLA Piper raised a total of $100,100 for Reid, according to FEC reports.

Reid is expected to face a tough re-election bid in 2010. Recent polls have show Reid trailing two Republicans hoping to unseat him.

Senior Democrat Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerHow Trump can score a big league bipartisan win on infrastructure Overnight Finance: Dems introduce minimum wage bill | Sanders clashes with Trump budget chief | Border tax proposal at death's door GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (N.Y.) also found backing among lobbyists this past quarter, collecting $81,750 in bundled contributions. PACs for Delta Airlines and stock exchange NASDAQ OMX as well as Zachary Williams of Cauthen Forbes & Williams raised money for Schumer. 

According to third quarter FEC reports, lobbyists and lobbyist-registered PACs also bundled checks for several other senators or Senate hopefuls. They raised $27,050 for Sen. Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowTrump, Clinton campaign aides launch their own bids Democrats prod Trump Interior nominee over lobbying work McConnell promises women can take part in healthcare meetings MORE (D-Mich.), $23,450 for Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTime is now to address infrastructure needs Tom Steyer testing waters for Calif. gubernatorial bid Another day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs MORE (D-Calif.) and $16,348 for Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), who is running for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Arlen Specter (D).