“Bundling” refers to the practice of collecting contributions from multiple donors and submitting them to a political campaign or political action committee (PAC) as a single donation.
This allows individuals to aggregate their donations in order to make a larger overall contribution, and to potentially increase their influence with the recipient of the donation.
Bundling is often used by wealthy donors, lobbyists, and special interest groups who seek to maximize their influence over the political process.
As the San Antonio News-Express explained:
Welcome to the world of bundlers: a semi-secretive though perfectly legal practice in which super-duper fundraisers deliver bundles of campaign contributions to their favorite candidates that they induce, entice or, some would say, strong-arm others to make.
Bundling allows candidates of both parties to finesse the federal caps on individual political contributions and allows the bundlers to gain more-than-ordinary access to presidents and presidential hopefuls.
By bundling donations from multiple individuals or entities, they can increase the total amount of money that a candidate or political group receives, and potentially gain more access to elected officials and decision-makers.
While bundling can be a legal way to contribute to political campaigns and PACs, it can also be used to circumvent campaign finance laws and to hide the true sources of contributions.
For this reason, there are strict reporting requirements for bundlers in many jurisdictions, and campaigns and PACs are required to disclose the identities of bundlers and the amounts that they collect.
Critics of bundling argue that it can create a system of pay-to-play politics, in which the interests of wealthy donors and special interest groups take precedence over the needs and desires of ordinary citizens.
They argue that bundling can distort the political process and undermine democracy, by giving wealthy donors and special interest groups undue influence over the policies and decisions of elected officials.
In response to these concerns, there have been efforts to limit the influence of bundling in political fundraising.
Some jurisdictions have placed caps on the amount that an individual can bundle, or require bundlers to disclose the identities of all of the donors who contribute to their bundles.
Others have banned bundling altogether, in an effort to reduce the influence of money in politics.
Examples of “bundling” in a sentence:
- The presidential candidate relied on a team of dedicated bundlers to collect contributions from wealthy donors across the country.
- Critics argue that the bundling system allows wealthy donors to exert an outsized influence over the political process, to the detriment of ordinary citizens.
- In response to concerns about the role of bundling in political fundraising, some jurisdictions have implemented strict disclosure requirements for bundlers, in order to increase transparency and accountability.