are people who gathered $100,000 for George W. Bush
or 2004 presidential campaign
. Two new levels, Bush Rangers
and Super Rangers
, were bestowed upon supporters who gathered $200,000+ or $300,000+, respectively, for the 2004 campaign, after the 2002 McCain–Feingold
campaign finance law raised hard money
contribution limits. This was done through the practice of "bundling
" contributions. There were 221 Rangers and 327 Pioneers in the 2004 campaign and 241 Pioneers in the 2000 campaign (550 pledged to try). A fourth level, Bush Mavericks
, was used to identify fundraisers under 40 years of age who bundled more than $50,000.
The Pioneer system was devised by Karl Rove. The network has roots in Texan GOP donor lists compiled by Rove, whose political roots are in direct-mail solicitation in the 1980s.
Nineteen of the original Pioneers became ambassadors in 2001. Three Pioneers have been convicted of politics-related crimes.
Pioneers were involved in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. An analysis in 2006 found that 12 were supporting Rudy Giuliani, 21 supporting John McCain, and 16 supporting Mitt Romney. However, a July 2008 report found fewer than half of the 2004 Pioneers and Rangers had even contributed their own money to McCain. Nearly one-third have yet to contribute to any candidate.
Prominent Pioneers, Rangers and Mavericks
- Katharine Armstrong
- Roland Arnall, founder of Ameriquest and current Ambassador to The Netherlands
- James A. Baker IV, son of James Baker
- Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi and former Republican National Committee Chairman
- Marvin Pierce Bush
- William DeWitt, Jr. of Cincinnati, head of an investment firm and co-owner of the St. Louis Cardinals
- Richard J. Egan, billionaire from Hopkinton, Massachusetts; founder of EMC Corp. and United States Ambassador to Ireland 2001–2003; his sons, Christopher and Michael, are also Bush Pioneers.
- Don Evans
- Sam Fox, national chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and has donated well over $1 million to Republican candidates and causes since the 1990s. His 2007 nomination as ambassador to Belgium was withdrawn after Sen. Kerry objected to his contributions to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth; Bush then appointed Fox ambassador when Congress was in recess.
- Frank E. Fowler, art dealer from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee who represents the Andrew Wyeth estate
- Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House
- Ray L. Hunt
- Ken Lay
- Joe O'Neill, Texas oilman who introduced Mr. Bush to his wife, Laura
- David M. Miner, State Representative of North Carolina
- George E. Pataki, former Governor of New York State.
- Stephen Payne (lobbyist)
- Francis Rooney, United States Ambassador to the Holy See
- Robert Rowling
- Alex Spanos, Stockton, California real estate developer and owner of the San Diego Chargers.
- Nathaniel R. Morris, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School Graduate Student
- Craig Roberts Stapleton
- Jerry Weintraub, film producer, including Nashville and Ocean's Eleven.
- Jim Wilkinson
- Charles Wyly and Sam Wyly, Texas brothers who collectively represented Bush's 9th greatest career contributor.
- Andrew Saul, Chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
- James H. Harless, coal baron.
Bush Pioneers involved in criminal investigations
Two of the 2004 Pioneers, Jack Abramoff
and Thomas Noe
, have pleaded guilty to politics-related crimes, Noe for illegally funnelling money into the Bush re-election campaign. James Tobin
was convicted for jamming Democratic Party phones
, and Ken Lay
was convicted for his stewardship of Enron
. Brent Wilkes
was indicted for bribing Duke Cunningham
. Larry Householder
is under federal investigation for his involvement in Coingate
was subpoenaed for information but not under suspicion).
- Jim Hightower, $hrub's Pioneer$, BushFiles.com, May 28, 1999.
- Charles Laurence, Bush's Rangers on trail to round up record $200m, news.telegraph.co.uk, June 15, 2003.
- Steve Kingstone, Bush begins fundraising drive, BBC, June 18, 2003: "If Bill Clinton was the consummate campaigner, George Bush is the final word in campaign fundraising."
- Editorial: Bush's Rangers / Money shouldn't make the political world go round, post-gazette, July 21, 2003.
- Dave McKenna, Ambassadors of the Game, WashingtonCityPaper, September 13, 2003.
- Thomas B. Edsall and Sarah Cohen, Bush Campaign Raises A Record $49.5 Million. For Their Efforts, Fundraisers Also Gain, Washington Post, October 15, 2003: "The record receipts -- more than triple the top Democrat's fundraising for the quarter -- were driven in large part by just 285 men and women, who collected $38.5 million or more, which was at least 45 percent of Bush's total take. This fundraising elite, many of whom were beneficiaries of Bush administration policies, included 100 'Rangers,' who raised at least $200,000 apiece, and 185 'Pioneers,' who collected at least $100,000 each."
- Jim Drinkard and Laurence McQuillan, 'Bundling' contributions pays for Bush campaign, USAToday, October 16, 2003.
- Glen Justice, Once at Arm's Length, Wall Street Is Bush's Biggest Donor, New York Times, October 23, 2003: "A study to be released today shows that the financial community has surpassed all other groups, including lawyers and lobbyists, as the top industry among Mr. Bush's elite fund-raisers. The list of those generating $100,000 and $200,000 now includes chief executives like Henry M. Paulson of Goldman Sachs, John J. Mack of Credit Suisse First Boston and Stanley O'Neal of Merrill Lynch, whose firm has already raised twice the amount for Mr. Bush's re-election that it did during the entire 2000 campaign cycle. ... 'It's really a question of policy, that's what's driving this,' said Marc Lackritz, president of the Securities Industry Association, which represents more than 650 securities firms. 'It's a pro-investor policy.'"
- Glen Justice, Newcomers Provide Fuel for Bush Money Machine, New York Times, March 14, 2004.
- Thomas B. Edsall, Sarah Cohen and James V. Grimaldi, "Pioneers Fill War Chest, Then Capitalize," Washington Post, May 16, 2004.
- Jonathan E. Kaplan, "RNC offers 'Super Ranger' status," The Hill, May 18, 2004.
- Greg Palast, "Give It Back, George. Did Wyly Coyotes' Ill-Gotten Loot Buy White House?," gregpalast.com, April 11, 2005.
- John Cheeves, "Kentucky 'Maverick' reels in serious cash for GOP campaign", Lexington Herald-Leader, August 29, 2004.