Lobbyists rain down cash on Clinton

Lobbyists rain down cash on Clinton

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket MORE’s White House bid got a real bump after the Democratic National Convention — from her lobbyist fundraisers.

Sixty-two lobbyists raised nearly $11 million for Clinton from July through September of this year, according to recently filed disclosure forms, a dramatic increase over previous quarters.


In the weeks surrounding the convention, the Hillary Victory Fund — a joint fundraising committee the Clinton camp shares with the Democratic National Committee and 32 state party committees — took in $10.6 million raised by lobbyists. Donors can give more than $350,000 to the joint venture with a single check. K Streeters bundled an additional $300,000 for Clinton’s campaign account, known as Hillary for America, during the same period.

Two lobbyists brought in the top amount in the third quarter, about $1.6 million: Richard Sullivan, a veteran Democratic fundraiser now at Capitol Counsel, and Ankit Desai, a lobbyist at Cheniere Energy.

Other boldface names include Liz Robbins of Liz Robbins Associates, with $741,000 bundled; Linda Lipsen at the American Association for Justice, at $575,566; Al Mottur of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, with $533,575; and Fred Humphries of Microsoft at $458,328.

“As the choice narrows between two people for president — and one person self-implodes on television day after day — it gets easier to ask people to make a bigger sacrifice and write a bigger check,” Mottur, a shareholder at Brownstein’s Washington office, told The Hill.

First-time Clinton bundlers blasting onto the third-quarter list include John Jonas, a top healthcare lobbyist at Akin Gump, DLA Piper’s Matthew Bernstein and Karissa Willhite of Ogilvy Government Relations.

Lobbyists have bundled $19.6 million for Clinton over the course of the Democrat’s presidential campaign.

A majority of the bundled funds — about $12.7 million since the campaign began — went into the Hillary Victory Fund. The remaining $6.9 million bundled from lobbyists since April 2015 went into Clinton’s campaign account, according to an analysis of disclosure forms by The Hill.

Mottur said he has even been fundraising from Republicans to help Clinton’s campaign.

“It’s an unconventional campaign in that sense,” he said. “People helping Hillary Clinton can solicit money from Republicans. That was not expected, but it has become fertile ground, given their nominee.”

While the limits on the joint fundraising committee run into six figures, bundlers for the campaign account must collect smaller donations. Contributors can only give a campaign up to $2,700 per election.

In addition to the massive checks they collected for the Hillary Victory Fund, the top lobbyist fundraisers for the Hillary for America campaign account include:

• Capitol Counsel’s David Jones, who raised $762,666 for the campaign alone.

• Richard Sullivan, also at Capitol Counsel, brought in $592,891.

• Holly Macarro, of Ietan Consulting, bundled $430,900.

• Heather Podesta, of Heather Podesta + Partners, raised $406,878.

• Steve Elmendorf, of Subject Matter, bundled $360,084.

Bundlers, usually an elite tier of lobbyists or well-connected individuals, solicit donations from others and submit the checks to the campaign. Being a bundler can give individuals cachet with a candidate.

If lobbyists collect at least $17,600 in checks from donors, candidates are required to report the K Street-based fundraising to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on a quarterly basis.

Campaigns do not have to disclose the identity of bundlers who are not registered lobbyists.

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE, the Republican presidential nominee, has not received enough cash bundled by a lobbyist to trigger the reporting threshold. 

While many GOP lobbyists have said they will vote for Trump, the billionaire has not fostered much of a relationships with Washington’s advocacy class. 

Some Republicans on K Street, like David Urban of American Continental Group, former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.) of the Livingston Group, former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) at Squire Patton Boggs, and David Tamasi of Rasky Baerlein have lent support to the campaign in one way or another.

The donations are a departure from the previous presidential campaign cycle, when President Obama eschewed donations — either directly or in bundled form — from K Street.

Meanwhile, lobbyists cobbled together $17.3 million for Republican nominee Mitt Romney during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Public Integrity. 

Though he has employed several lobbyists on his transition team — including Mike Catanzaro of CGCN Group on his energy team — Trump has bashed lobbyists on the campaign trail.

“If I am elected president, I will end the special interest monopoly in Washington, D.C.,” Trump told a crowd in June. 

Trump unveiled an ethics reform plan on Monday evening that would create a five-year “cooling off” period for former lawmakers to lobby their old colleagues. Former House members now must wait one year before registering to lobby Capitol Hill, and former senators are required to “cool off” for two years.

The plan would also “close loopholes” that allow people to engage in advocacy-connected activities without registering to lobby, though the plan does not specify what parts of the lobbying disclosure law would be changed.

Clinton has not outlined any concrete plan for lobbying reform but has detailed changes for the campaign finance system including requiring the disclosure of all political spending and overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that led to the creation of super PACs.


Lobbyists who bundled more than $100,000 for Clinton campaign, Hillary for America, and the joint fundraising committee shared with national and state Democratic parties, Hillary Victory Fund, from June through September 2016.

Richard SullivanCapitol Counsel LLC$1,637,267
Ankit DesaiCheniere Energy, Inc.$1,575,600
Liz RobbinsLiz Robbins Associates$741,700
Linda LipsenAmerican Association for Justice$575,566
Al MotturBrownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP$533,575
Fred HumphriesMicrosoft$458,328
Heather PodestaHeather Podesta + Partners$408,469
John JonasAkin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP$400,000
David W. JonesCapitol Counsel LLC$326,880
Matthew BernsteinDLA Piper$311,500
Karissa WillhiteOgilvy Government Relations$307,100
Christopher Scott FayThe Sheridan Group$203,807
Steve ElmendorfSubject Matter$200,694
Susan EssermanSteptoe & Johnson LLP$177,185
Tony PodestaPodesta Group$152,385
Casey SixkillerSixkiller Consulting, LLC$150,000
David J. LeiterML Strategies, LLC$147,378
Hon. Martin ChavezSelf-employed$145,681
Andrew SmithMcGuireWoods Consulting$144,195
H. Benson Dendy, IIIThe Vectre Corporation$142,500
Frances ViscoNational Breast Cancer Coalition$130,550
League of Conservation Voters Action FundLeague of Conservation Voters$121,815
Michael SmithCornerstone Government Affairs$120,000
Justin GrayGray Global Advisors, LLC$110,750
Ingrid DuranD&P Creative Strategies, LLC$110,100
Marilyn YagerAlston & Bird LLP$101,950
Holly FechnerCovington & Burling LLP$100,900

Source: FEC records, tallied by The Hill


Lobbyists who bundled more than $300,000 for Clinton campaign, Hillary for America, and the joint fundraising committee shared with national and state Democratic parties, Hillary Victory Fund, during the two-year campaign cycle:

Richard SullivanCapitol Counsel LLC$2,628,516
Ankit DesaiCheniere Energy, Inc.$1,862,300
David W. JonesCapitol Counsel LLC$1,205,671
Frederick HumphriesMicrosoft$1,065,073
Linda LipsenAmerican Association for Justice$1,039,167
Liz RobbinsLiz Robbins Associates$949,185
Heather PodestaHeather Podesta + Partners$815,347
Al MotturBrownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP$807,531
Steve ElmendorfSubject Matter$614,406
Holly MacarroIetan Consulting$497,700
Tony PodestaPodesta Group$451,420
Matthew BernsteinDLA Piper LLP$410,870
John JonasAkin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP$400,000
Hon. Martin ChávezSelf-Employed$370,950
David LeiterML Strategies, LLC$356,148
Andrew SmithMcGuireWoods Consulting$344,045
Michael SmithCornerstone Government Affairs$318,750
Jerry CrawfordCrawford & Mauro Law Firm$314,353
Christopher Scott FayThe Sheridan Group$313,807
Karissa WillhiteOgilvy Government Relations$307,100

Source: FEC records, tallied by The Hill