This report was published in July 2000. It should be considered outdated and is kept online for historical purposes only.

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The Bush Pioneers:
Introduction & Summary

George W. Bush campaign has raised more money than any other political candidate in history, twice as much as any presidential candidate before him.   At least 24 percent of the $90 million in hard money that Bush has raised thus far came through his Pioneers: an elite network of 212 fundraisers dominated by corporate executives, lawyers, lobbyists and political operatives.

The 212 Pioneers that Bush has identified have supplied a minimum of $21.2 million. In all likelihood many of them have delivered much more. But this campaign—which painstakingly tracks the amount of money raised by each Pioneer and even by each industry—refuses to make this information public. Similarly, the only Pioneers that the campaign has outed are the 212 whom the campaign says already have delivered the requisite minimum of $100,000 apiece. Way back in July 1999, Pioneer coordinator Jim Francis said that almost 400 individuals had taken the Pioneer pledge. What are the names of the rest? How much have they raised? And how many more new Pioneers have been recruited in the past 12 months? Bush, who views disclosure as the cure to all that ails our campaign finance system, will not say.

Even with spotty disclosure, however, it is clear that the Pioneer network is the biggest political bundling operation ever undertaken. Still, there has been no comprehensive analysis of the identified Pioneers. There have been anecdotal media reports on a smattering of them. Several groups also have tabulated the Pioneers names and cited their employers and occupations. This report goes further by fleshing out in greater detail who the Pioneers are as individuals—and as a group. It identifies their interests and provides clues as to what they might want for their $21.2 million.

The initial tables and graphs present the big picture, breaking the Pioneers out by industry, occupation and home state. This first section tabulates how many are lobbyists, corporate welfare recipients or veterans of campaign-finance scandals. It also shows who led the pack in contributing to Bush’s gubernatorial campaigns and in pouring hard and soft money into the federal elections system. The remainder of the report provides mini-profiles of the 212 outed Pioneers.

View the Key Findings

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