A few weeks ago Little India published an article spotlighting some of the Indian American “bundlers” that will be playing a big part in the behind-the-scenes money war this primary season. At least half of them (a group aptly titled “Hillraisers”) will be sending their money Senator Hillary Clinton’s way:
Federal law caps personal contributions in an election cycle to $2,300, limiting individual donations to a presidential campaign to $4,600, as the primaries and the general election count as separate elections.
The way major presidential campaign donors stick out among the tens of thousands who make the maximum permissible contribution is not on the strength of their individual donation as much as by becoming “bundlers.” These bundlers typically package and bundle donations from friends, family, business and professional associates, etc., by hosting private and public fundraising events. Bundlers account for nearly half of the almost $160 million raised collectively by Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the first three quarter of 2007.
A Little India analysis of the 2,493 bundlers in the 2008 presidential campaign identified thus far by the public interest watchdog group Public Citizen revealed 21 Indian American bundlers, almost half of whom work on behalf of Sen. Clinton. Sen. Obama has six Indian American bundlers, followed by two each for Sen. John Edwards and Gov Mitt Romney and one for Sen. John McCain. None of the other candidates listed any Indian American bundlers. [Link]
p>For those of you hearing the term “bundlers” for the time, here is an excellent reference. The biggest bundler is someone we’ve blogged about before, most recently in a post by Amardeep last September: Hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal.
Bundlers are far more valuable than the legions of individual donors on whom candidates, and indeed the bundlers rely, as is illustrated by Sen. Clinton’s most visible Indian American bundler, the hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal. Chatwal, whose association with the Clintons dates back to Pres. Clinton’s first primary campaign in 1991, has reportedly raised $3 million for Sen. Clinton, headlined by a 1,200 person dinner in June 2007. He told Little India that he was confident that Indian Americans would easily top $5 million for her campaign. But Chatwal had not pitched in his own personal contribution to her campaign, as of the third quarter of 2007, according to records of the Federal Election Commission. However, several members of his family, including his wife Pardaman Chatwal, and two sons Vivek Chatwal and Vikram Chatwal (who is listed as a $100,000 bundler himself) contributed $4,200 apiece to Sen. Clinton’s primary and general election campaigns. [Link]
p>From the article, here is a list of bundlers for the current campaign season:
Indian American Bundlers
2008 Presidential Campaigns
BUNDLER STATE OCCUPATION AMOUNT CANDIDATE
Sant Chatwal NY Hampshire Hotels & Resorts over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Vikram Chatwal NY Hampshire Hotels & Resorts over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Kamil Hasan CA Hitek Venture Partners over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Talat Hasan CA Hitek Venture Partners over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Kishore Kaul CA Urbantec Developers over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Arvind Raghunathan NY Deutsche Bank over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Anil Shah CA Cardiologist over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Prakash Shah NJ First Mortgage Realty over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Ken Singh CA Kenpo Inc. over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Mahinder Tak MD Physician over $100,000 Hillary Clinton
Vinai K. Thummalapally CO Mam-A Inc. over $100,000 Barack Obama
Deven Parekh NY Insight Venture Partners over $100,000 Barack Obama
Karim Alibhai FL Gencom over $50,000 Barack Obama
Jatinder Bedi IL The Indian Reporter over $50,000 Barack Obama
Sunil Puri IL First Rockford Group over $50,000 Barack Obama
Balvinder Singh IL A-One Carpets over $50,000 Barack Obama
Indra Chatterjee CA Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Not listed John Edwards
Akshay Rao MN University of Minnesota Not listed John Edwards
A.K. Desai FL Universal Health Care Not listed Mitt Romney
R. Vijay FL Gulf to Bay Cardiovascular Not listed Mitt Romney
K. V. Kumar AZ Business & Strategic Consultants Not listed John McCain
Data for first three quarters of 2007 [Link]
The vast majority of Indian Americans bundlers are supporting Democratic candidates this time around. Despite the fact that more Indian American bundlers have been giving to Hillary Clinton, Obama just edges out Clinton in money raised by ALL bundlers. Everyone knows why wealthy Indian American businessmen and women would give to the Clintons (they are established power-brokers with clout and a fondness for Indian food), but I am curious to learn who would be bundling for Obama (i.e., from what industries or professions). The top bundlers for Obama are an engineer from Colorado and a venture capitalist from NY. Looks like he also has a newspaper guy (publisher?) rooting for him at The Indian Reporter. In any case, the people on this list are important to remember since it is quite possible that those bundlers supporting the eventual winner might end up serving in that winner’s administration in some capacity. They are also important to remember because depending on who you are, they may come to you looking to bundle your money.