I think it's good that the Times is hitting Obama on raising millions from businesses with political interests while his campaign touts the small contributions that nevertheless make most up half of the money. It's important for reporters to carefully scrutinize how politicians raise money, and from whom. But the story seems a little weak, mostly because none of the claims made by the campaign are wrong or misleading.

That said, as long as we're talking about bundlers from large industries and how they could potentially influence presidential candidates, The Washington Post has an interesting article on McCain's fundraising efforts. It focuses on an influx of money bundled by oil trading company owner Harry Sargeant III, (who also raised money for Giuliani and Clinton) on behalf people who would seem not to have an interest in the election, or who are donating more money than you would think they could afford. In some cases, the donors aren't even registered to vote. When asked, some of the donors were pretty cagey about the nature of their contributions, such as the Rite Aid manager who initially denied having made one, and then said he "didn't want to talk about" the $4,600 donations to Clinton and Giuliani made in he and his wife's name.

All in all, you might conclude that what gets a Democrat on the front page of a newspaper for his fundraising practices is considerably different from what a Republican merits.

The entire article is a must-read, but this paragraph caught my eye. (Emphasis mine).

In January, Norman Hsu, a top Clinton bundler, was indicted in part on charges of circumventing legal giving limits by routing contributions though "straw donors." Earlier this week, McCain drew questions about more than $60,000 in donations that were made this year to the Republican National Committee and his campaign by an office manager with the Hess oil company and her husband, an Amtrak track foreman. In that case, the couple said they used their own money.

Yes, the McCain campaign "drew questions." From where? Who knows? You'd think that by now the Washington Post would be able to acknowledge TPM's existence. I know, Josh Marshall, Eric Kleefield and Greg Sargent aren't serious bloggers like Michelle Malkin, but still.

Also, it seems like this Sargeant fellow may yet have more skeletons in his closet.

--A. Serwer

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