Money and Democracy

Published — October 31, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Obama bundler Jon Corzine’s financial firm hits the skids in bankruptcy


The financial firm of former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine announced Monday it would file for bankruptcy, possibly putting a key component of President Obama’s re-election fundraising strategy in danger.

Corzine, former chairman of Goldman Sachs, was one of Obama’s main conduits to Wall Street, a donor base that has been a challenge for the president to hold in line. Corzine has been a major bundler, already reaching the $500,000-plus level as reported by the Obama campaign. He has also been active in arranging meetings between disgruntled donors and the president, including a secret meeting earlier this summer with leaders from a number of Wall Street firms.

Corzine may have lost his midas touch with his latest financial venture. MF Global Holdings, the company led by Corzine after he lost the governorship of New Jersey, reported major losses in the last few months. In the last two weeks alone, the company’s value went from over $600 million to less than $200 million. The bankruptcy followed abruptly.

Corzine has been a prolific fundraiser for Democrats over the years. He bundled more than $100,000 for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries. (A bundler agrees to “bundle” contributions in $2,500 increments from friends, family and colleagues for a particular candidate.)

While a senator from New Jersey, Corzine raised $88 million as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2003-2004. It is worth noting that his party lost four Senate seats in that election. Corzine has also personally contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party committees and candidates.

There has been speculation that Corzine hopes to join the Obama administration if the president is re-elected. His contract with MF included provisions that kick in if Corzine is named to a federal position before July of 2013. He certainly would not be the first Obama bundler to get an administration position. Earlier this year, an iWatch News analysis found that nearly 200 bundlers from the 2008 campaign had received jobs or other patronage from the Obama administration.

Obama has struggled to keep support from Wall Street, which has soured on him because of his administration’s policies and the industry’s outright hostility to the Dodd-Frank financial reforms passed last year. A report in September found that 100 Obama donors from Wall Street have switched sides to back former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

In 2008, major candidates from the Democrats and the GOP released their bundler information; so far this cycle only the Obama campaign has followed that practice. The campaign discloses it’s bundlers in four levels: $50-100,000; $100-200,000; $200-500,000 and $500,000-plus. It is impossible to tell exactly how much each bundler raised, but iWatch News estimates say Obama’s 358 bundlers have already raised a minimum of $55 million this year.

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