Election 2012: Local donations to super PACs, bundlers
A few local people have been responsible for gathering and/or contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
For the Democrats, the money came in bundles.
A bundler is someone who collects checks from individuals and delivers them as a bundle to a candidate. The Federal Election Commission requires disclosure of bundlers who are registered lobbyists. The Democrats are disclosing bundling by non-lobbyists, whereas Republican presidential candidates in 2012 have chosen not to, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that tracks money in politics.
A prominent bundler for Democrats is Woodside attorney Sandra A. Thompson. Ms. Thompson gathered $966,556 in contributions for Mr. Obama, according to records at OpenSecrets.org, the website of the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Democrats had the services of five other local bundlers, all listing Menlo Park ties: $437,200 from Steve Westly of the Westly Group, $240,200 from Noosheen Hashemi of The H.A.N.D. Foundation, $36,900 from Steve Spinner of Sports Potential, $9,650 from former state assembly candidate Josh Becker of New Cycle Capital, and $5,250 from Craig Hanson of Next World Capital.
A super PAC is a political action committee open to unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations. Super PACs cannot give to or coordinate with candidates, campaigns or parties, but are free to make unlimited independent expenditures that support the cause of a candidate or political party, or a political point of view. The super PAC became a legal entity in 2010 following the U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Ms. Thompson, the Woodside attorney, also gave $75,000 to Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama super PAC. Of $21 million given to Priorities USA, Ms. Thompson is the only donor listed from the Almanac's circulation area of Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley and Menlo Park, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
By contrast, the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, with total assets of $82 million, lists several local donors:
• From Portola Valley: $200,000 from Dick W. Boyce of TPG Capital, $100,000 from Richard Boyce of TPG Capital, and $20,000 from Kurt Jaggers of TA Associates.
• From Atherton: $100,000 from Hewlett-Packard Corp. CEO Meg Whitman, and $25,000 from Donald Dixon of Trident Capital.
• From Menlo Park: $25,000 from Katherine Alden of Woodside Hotels & Resorts, $12,500 from Jennifer Fonstad of Draper, Fisher & Jurvetson, and $425,000 from Mercury Trust.
Mercury Trust also gave $500,000 to American Crossroads, a Republican super PAC with assets of $40 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.