- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sen. John McCain is more open than his Democratic rival about revealing information on his top fundraisers, but neither he nor Sen. Barack Obama will say precisely how much money each of those supporters rake in, a coalition of campaign finance watchdog groups said Wednesday.

The Center for Responsive Politics, the Campaign Finance Institute and six other groups sought to show just how much information the presidential campaigns are telling the public about hundreds of so-called big money “bundlers.”

The researchers found that while Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, discloses the name, city, state, employer and occupation of his bundlers, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, does not release employer or occupation information.

Still, neither campaign has directed either the Democratic or Republican national parties to disclose bundlers and the amount raised for the national parties, according to the groups.

“In their legislative work and on the stump, both candidates have supported greater disclosure of money and elite influence. We’d like to see them do more right now to shine more light on their own campaigns and how they’ve managed to raise half a billion dollars,” said Massie Ritsch, communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics.

“What we’re asking of Senators Obama and McCain is, in some cases, more information than any presidential candidate has provided in the past. But, to borrow a phrase, for those to whom much private money has been contributed, much is required,” he said.

“Senator McCain has taken a number of steps toward greater transparency, and we wonder when we’re going to hear from Senator Obama’s campaign.”

The study also was conducted by Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters of the United States, Public Citizen, the Sunshine Foundation and U.S. PIRG, the federation of Public Interest Research Groups.

Both candidates have taken a stand against the influence of special interest money in political campaigns, though their positions have come under scrutiny at times. Neither campaign immediately responded Wednesday when asked to comment on the findings.

Mr. Obama won’t take money from registered federal lobbyists, but does accept donations from state lobbyists, former federal lobbyists and partners at lobbying firms.

Meanwhile, Mr. McCain doesn’t bar donations from lobbyists. And while he doesn’t allow top staff members to hold outside lobbying jobs, the policy came about amid scrutiny over several advisers’ lobbying work for foreign governments.

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