The Hill reports that the biggest fundraiser for Senate Democrats this fall also plays an influential role in the health care industry.
Ken Raske, president and CEO of the Greater New York Hospital Association, has bundled $152,000 in donations for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the month of September alone.
Raske's association spent more than $1 million lobbying Congress so far this year. The Hill also reports that Raske was one of three hospital representatives invited to the White House in May for a meeting with President Obama to discuss health care reform.
The Hill also reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took in the most bundled contributions from lobbyists in the third quarter.
Al Cardenas of the Tew Cardenas law firm took second place in lobbyist bundling for the third quarter. He took in $66,200 for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
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 Stabenow (D-Mich.), $23,450 for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and $16,348 for Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), who is running for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Arlen Specter (D).
Lobbyist bundling is the practice of fundraising by pooling from a large number of campaign contributors, political action committee and individuals , according to FEC rules. Donors can then funnel more money to campaigns than they could personally contribute under campaign finance laws.
New lobbying ethics laws passed in 2007 require that semi-annual disclosure reports be filed for every two or more bundled contributions that exceed $16,000.