12/05/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

New Breed Of "Mega-Bundlers" Supercharged Campaign Finance

Through Oct. 15, the two presidential candidates had raised a total of $350 million in their joint fund-raising accounts, about equally. In 2004, President George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry raised a combined $51.4 million for joint fund-raising accounts, up from a combined $5.2 million in the 2000 presidential race.


Donors are allowed to give as much as $70,000 to the accounts. The accounts legally skirt fund-raising limits because the money doesn't go directly to candidates. Instead, it is split in legal-size chunks between national and state political parties that then spend it on behalf of the presidential candidates.

The study found that Sen. McCain had 84 mega-bundlers. They include Hess Corp. CEO John Hess, who was credited with $256,500 in contributions from himself and nine Hess employees. Mr. Hess declined to comment.

Henry Kravis, of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., raised $322,000 from himself and 11 people in his office. Mr. Kravis declined to comment.

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