Clinton’s 2008 mega-donors wait with open wallets
January 30th, 2014
05:45 AM ET
6 months ago

Clinton’s 2008 mega-donors wait with open wallets

Washington (CNN) – During Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, a loyal group of fundraisers – called the "Hillraisers" – donated and bundled millions of dollars for the then-senator's White House bid.

With the prospect of another run in 2016, the fundraisers watch Clinton’s moves with great interest, prepared to help any prospective run by opening their wallets and tapping their contacts as they did eight years earlier.

But with the budding pre-campaign of super PACs and advocacy groups already building around the former secretary of state, many of these fundraisers have moved on from strictly anticipation and are already working to make sure a Clinton run in 2016 would be well funded.

Alan Patricof, the man who founded the $20 billion private equity firm Apax Partners, was a substantial supporter of Clinton’s 2008 bid. When asked if he would look to bundle and fundraise for Clinton in 2016 - should she run - he said, “Yes, I can say that with certainty.”

“I remain a Clinton supporter,” Patricof said. “I definitely am very supportive of Hillary should she decide to go forward.”

In 2008, Clinton raised a substantial $230 million for her primary battle, according to The Center for Responsive Politics. But when that money proved not enough to stem the surging tide of then-candidate Barack Obama, Clinton acquiesced and dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination. Many of her funders helped Obama, but as evidence by their early support, they remained close to Clinton.

“I think she would be able to raise money fairly handily,” said James Blanchard, the former governor of Michigan and a member of Clinton’s 2008 national finance committee, who said he would “absolutely” financially support another Clinton run like he did eight years before.

In conversations with a handful of Clinton bundlers, two themes became evident: While none wanted to get ahead of a possible Clinton run, all were openly excited at the prospect of another shot at the White House.

“If she ever decides that she is going to run, call me” said Brian Greenspun, the publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun and a Clinton “Hillraiser” in 2008.

“Simply,” he continued, “I am a big fan.”

Although the former first lady has not declared whether she will run for president in 2016 - last year, she said she would make her decision in 2014 - a group of PACs and advocacy organizations have begun the process of raising money and aiding a hypothetical Clinton campaign. Ready for Hillary, a super PAC urging Clinton to run; Emily’s List, a women’s organization that backs Democratic women running for office; and Correct the Record, a Democratic communications organization, are at the heart of these efforts to urge a Clinton bid.

And this new pre-campaign has given wealthy bankrollers like Blanchard and others the opportunity to not wait for her announcement and support Clinton before she has even decided to run.

Blanchard said Ready for Hillary approached him and his wife about a donation and according to FEC reports, Janet Blanchard donated $5,000 to the effort.

Other Clinton bundlers have backed Ready for Hillary, too. Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Portugal from 1994 to 1997, gave $5,000 to the group, according to FEC reports, and Lanny Davis, a longtime Clinton supporter and confidant, gave $1,000.

Close friends of the Clintons, like Susie Buell, Thomas Lee, Sandy Robertson, Angus Gund, James Hormel have also organized high-dollar fundraisers for the pro-Hillary group, with some donating upwards of $25,000.

And Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania who bundled for Clinton in 2008, attended a Ready for Hillary event last year in Philadelphia and intends to attend another fundraiser for the group on Thursday.

A source familiar with Ready for Hillary’s fundraising efforts said reaching out to the 2008 Clinton bundlers was a targeted effort by the group.

“Ready for Hillary intends to continue its outreach to 2008 bundlers and work with those bundlers, for instance, to organize high-dollar fundraising events across the country,” the source said.

The source also noted the fact that former Clinton bundlers are being asked for donations is because Matt Felan, Clinton’s 2008 deputy finance director, is heading finance efforts for the super PAC. Felan, the source said, has tapped into “longstanding relationships with bundlers” in order to raise money for the group and intends to do so more in 2014.

Ready for Hillary has been boosted by congressional support, too. Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, who held a fundraiser for Clinton in 2008 and was a substantial supporter, was present at the PAC's first finance meeting last year in New York.

With an eye on 2016, Lowey said she would be proud to support Clinton as she did in 2008.

"I will support Secretary Clinton in any endeavor she would choose to take on and I would love to see Secretary Clinton finally break that glass ceiling," Lowey said. "Unfortunately, fundraising is key and if she decides to run, I will help her in any way I can."


Filed under: 2016 • Fundraising • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. with a grain of salt

    Does this mean adleson will have to kick in another 160 million, like he did for Romney, or the hundreds of millions by the Koch brothers? That's certainly not trying yo buy the whitehouse.

    January 30, 2014 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  2. with a grain of salt

    Here's your liberal media again, Mega donors, at 5,000 a piece, the gop donors give hundreds of millions each, several of the. But they certainly would never expect anything in return, its just a hobby, a passing interest. When is the last time a rich man threw away that kind of money, they didn't get that wealthy doing that, no the accumulation of that kind if wealth comes from corruption . Apple comes to mind, with headquarters in Ireland, they pay them no tax, keep the money offshore, and operate tax free. Thanks for looking out for us gop.

    January 30, 2014 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  3. Tampa Tim

    If the republicans go against the Kochs, and nominate Carrot-top Paul, she will break him in half and throw him off the balcony.

    January 30, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  4. Wake up People!

    $5,000 is considered being a mega donor?? What about the millions donated on the right from just a few people?

    Fox-lite be careful, your bias is showing..... How are people going to refer to you as the evil, leftist, liberal media???

    January 30, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. Nameparjiboneewray.

    we they liberian like us no the important of education, because in every part of the world education is most important.

    January 30, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  6. Nameparjiboneewray.

    Thanks for ur under standent

    January 30, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    It is my fondest hope and desire, to see every republican sent home this next election. Not because I'm liberal, but because I'm completely disappointed in the current republican legislators. When you lie, do so when there's no taped record of the lie. When you act like demented children, don't do so where there's an open mic. When you make big mistakes, ones that cost lives, live up to it and don't blame the opposing party for the sake of political gain. When you trash the economy, don't place roadblocks in the path of recovery for political gain. You are working for the people, not corporate America, or the arms manufactures. Your party was once a great part of the political landscape. That was before your party decided to embrace every organization or person with radical agendas in order to gain power and authority. Quit misleading the people through your AM radio hate jocks and FAUX NEWS. The title says it all, your party is dead to me.

    January 30, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  8. ChrisM

    That's funny. Because those MEGA donors are also Large GOP donors that gave to Bill Clintons Global Initiative.

    January 30, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. jed clampett

    Tampa Tim

    If the republicans go against the Kochs, and nominate Carrot-top Paul, she will break him in half and throw him off the balcony.

    Like a boy.

    January 30, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Gunderson

    Aw, Humm,
    If you still need your Nanny.........

    January 30, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Malory Archer

    The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    It is my fondest hope and desire, to see every republican sent home this next election. Not because I'm liberal, but because I'm completely disappointed in the current republican legislators. When you lie, do so when there's no taped record of the lie. When you act like demented children, don't do so where there's an open mic. When you make big mistakes, ones that cost lives, live up to it and don't blame the opposing party for the sake of political gain. When you trash the economy, don't place roadblocks in the path of recovery for political gain.....

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    When you threaten someone's life, make sure there's not a camera rolling, filming your every word and thug-like action.

    January 30, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |