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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

July 24, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Obama up to 18 campaign cash ‘bundlers’ in Washington

Even as he flies to Seattle for another pair of pricey fundraisers Tuesday, records show President Obama’s re-election campaign has already been getting plenty of help from high-powered campaign cash “bundlers” in Washington state.

Of the president’s 638 national bundlers, 18 are from Washington state, according to an updated list disclosed by the Obama campaign.

That’s already more than double the eight Washington bundlers relied on by the Obama campaign in 2008.

The bundlers are volunteers, frequently wealthy and politically connected, who are credited with raising at least $50,000 to help re-elect the president — and more than $500,000 in the case of the top tier fundraisers

They are sometimes rewarded with invitations to White House dinners or even patronage appointments. (One notable 2008 Obama bundler – not on this year’s list – was Seattle businesswoman Cynthia Stroum, whose appointment as ambassador to Luxembourg ended amid embarrassing reports of verbal abuse of staff and questionable expenditures.)

Obama’s 18 local bundlers this year have been credited with raising at least $4.2 million for the Obama campaign and a related Democratic National Committee fund.

They include Microsofties and business executives, attorneys and nonprofit consultants, all from Seattle and nearby area.

The top local bundlers, who have raised at least $500,000 are: John Frank, vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft; Lou Frillman, an investment company executive, and his wife, Carol; Suzi LeVine, a former Microsoft marketer; and Michael Parham, associate general counsel for RealNetworks.

Other notables include: philanthropist Susan Brotman (the wife of Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman), who has raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama; former Microsoft president Jon Shirley, who has raised between $100,000 and $200,000; and Rion Ramirez, general counsel for the Suquamish Tribe’s economic development agency, credited with raising between $200,000 and $500,000.

You can view the full list of Obama bundlers at the campaign’s web site.

Republican Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has refused to disclose his full list of campaign bundlers, despite repeated requests from campaign watchdog groups, including the Center for Responsive Politics. Romney instead has disclosed only a much smaller list of registered federal lobbyists (none from Washington) who have bundled contributions for him, as required Federal Election Commission rules.

Comments | More in homepage, Politics Northwest | Topics: bundlers, campaign contributions, president obama

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