Title Page
Report Summary
Who Are They?
View All of the Bush Pioneers & Rangers
Pioneers & Rangers by Industry
Pioneers & Rangers by Occupation
Multi-Pioneer Families & Employers
Pioneers & Rangers by State
The Scandal Sheet
What Did They Get?
Federal Appointments
Federal Contracts
White House Sleepovers
Payola Policies for Top Money Industries
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Who Are The Bush Pioneers & Rangers?
Summary & Key Findings:

Just three weeks after launching his presidential exploratory committee on March 7, 1999, George W. Bush had a quick $7.6 million in his war chest. This stunning jumpstart was but the opening salvo of a fundraising campaign that smashed all existing records. By the time his party selected him as its nominee in July 2000, Bush had amassed a primary war chest of more than $110 million. Bush became the first major-party nominee to spurn the public financing system for presidential primaries--along with its accompanying voluntary fundraising and spending limits.

Bush, who was not subject to contribution limits as a Texas gubernatorial candidate, was limited under federal law to no more than $1,000 from each individual donor to his 2000 presidential campaign. Each Pioneer legally circumvented this limit by amassing bundles of checks from 100 or more donors to deliver at least $100,000 to the Bush campaign. In honor of the 2002 “McCain-Feingold” reform--which doubled individual contribution limits to $2,000--the 2004 Bush campaign created a new elite “Ranger” category for donors who deliver $200,000 or more.

From the time that the Dallas Morning News first reported its existence in May 1999, Bush’s Pioneer network has been secretive. Under pressure from TPJ and the media in July 1999, Bush agreed to identify the first 115 Pioneers who had successfully delivered bundles of at least $100,000. To this day, however, the Bush campaign has not publicly disclosed the names of pledges who attempted to raise $100,000 or more for his two presidential campaigns. Nor does it reveal the total amount of money that it raised from this elite network. The then-director of Bush’s Pioneer network, Jim Francis, said in mid-1999 that more than 400 individuals had taken the Pioneer pledge, collectively promising to deliver at least $40 million. In 2000, Bush had 241 people raise at least $100,000 for his campaign accounting for a rock bottom total of $24.1 million out of the $110 million that he raised. Bush's 548 Pioneers and Rangers in 2004 raised a minimum of $76.9 million of his $286 million reelection war chest (this excludes the $75 million in public financing that he received).

Although political bundling is not new, Bush’s 2000 Pioneer network was the most sophisticated operation of its kind. The campaign assigned each Pioneer pledge a unique tracking number and directed them to instruct their donors to jot this number on their checks so that the campaign could monitor and credit each Pioneer’s fundraising progress. Even in his 2004 reelection campaign, Bush only revealed the names and home states of the Pioneers and Rangers who successfully met their bundling targets. This report goes further by tracking the interests of Bush’s elite donors and revealing what many of them got from the Bush administration.

Key findings include:

  • By the time of Bush's reelection in November 2004, 661 people had become elite Bush contributors who raised at least $100,000 for Bush’s campaign in 2000 or 2004. In fact, 127 donors raised $100,000 or more for Bush twice--in 2000 and 2004.

  • The 548 contributors who raised either $100,000 (Pioneers) or $200,000 (Rangers) for Bush’s reelection more than doubled the Pioneers who financed the 2000 Bush campaign (which had yet to create the Ranger category).

  • While Texas produced the most elite Bush donors in both Bush campaigns, its share diminished the second time around. Texas produced 12 percent (66) of Bush’s 2004 elite donors, down from 27 percent (65) of Bush’s 2000 elite. Florida was the next largest bastion of 2004 Bush support, producing 55 elite donors (10 percent).
Pioneers and Rangers in 2004 (count = 548):
  • Bush’s 2004 Pioneer-Ranger network is dominated by corporate executives and business owners, who account for 70 percent (384) of these 548 elite 2004 donors. Bush’s 2004 elite also include 93 full- or part-time lobbyists and 38 people employed as elected or appointed public officials.

  • The Finance industry accounts for 19 percent (105) of Bush’s 2004 Pioneer-Ranger network. Another 18 percent (99) of Bush's 2004 Pioneers and Rangers are Lawyers and Lobbyists.


Pioneers and Rangers in 2000 and/or 2004 (count = 661):

  • Of the 661 elite donors from Bush’s 2000 and/or 2004 campaigns, 152 (23 percent) have had themselves or their spouses appointed to Bush’s 2000 transition teams or to one or more federal posts. These big-donor appointees include two cabinet secretaries, 27 ambassadors and 48 transition team members.

  • 104 companies that have employed 127 elite Bush donors received federal contracts worth more than $88 billion in fiscal year 2002. Dominating this group is Bush Ranger George David, head of defense giant United Technologies Corp., which had $84 billion in federal contracts.

  • President Bush invited family members of 27 elite donors to sleepovers at the White House or Camp David.

  • At least 156 elite Bush donors have been involved in corporate scandals or helped run companies involved in them.

  • At least 83 elite donors either have been involved in campaign-finance scandals or helped run companies involved in them.

  • Forty-one elite Bush donors recently ran or worked for polluting companies.

  • Thirty-eight private companies have employed more than one elite Bush donor, with two Wall Street investment banks employing four elite Bush donors apiece.

  • Fifteen families produced more than one elite Bush donor, led by the First Family. Three other families bred three elite donors each.

  • Thirteen members of Congress are elite Bush donors.