WASHINGTON -- Washington lobbyists helped the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by raising nearly $9 million from July through September. The large bundling haul by the 42 lobbyists raising money for the Romney campaign during this period was the highest amount raised during the whole 2012 campaign.
Overall, 61 lobbyists have bundled $13.7 million for the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee since the former Massachusetts governor launched his presidential bid in April 2011 and began raising money for the party committee in May.
The majority of the lobbyists raising money for the Romney camp are professional Republicans with previous experience on presidential campaigns and in the halls of previous administrations and Congress. These include Ogilvy's Wayne Berman, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors' Dirk Van Dongen, former Rep. Bill Paxon (N.Y.), Barclays' Patrick Durkin, Dutko's David Beightol, former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (N.Y.) and American Trucking Association's Bill Graves.
Campaigns are required to disclose the names and amounts raised by registered lobbyists -- the only bundling disclosure requirement -- due to a lobbying reform law enacted after the 2006 scandal involving major lobbying abuses by Republican lobbyist and major presidential bundler Jack Abramoff.
Lobbyist fundraising has been a flashpoint in politics since the Abramoff scandal, with President Barack Obama refusing to accept contributions or bundled contributions from registered lobbyists. The Democratic National Committee under Obama has also refused to take lobbyist contributions.
On Monday, Politico reported that "the mood on K Street is brightening" as lobbyists look to a potential Romney administration to repeal the rules implemented by Obama banning lobbyists -- save for exemptions -- from serving in the White House, agencies and departments and on federal advisory boards. Some of the top Romney lobbyist bundlers could be angling for a job in the Romney administration.
The Romney campaign has been a magnet for lobbyist contributions beyond the $13.7 million bundled by the 61 top lobbyist fundraisers. The Huffington Post reported that lobbyists had given $1.87 million to Romney's campaign and his joint fundraising committee, Romney Victory, through the end of July.