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"The money always pays off," said Melanie Sloan, head of the Center for Reform in Elections in Washington. "It's all about being there, being in the room" when the details take shape behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. "And you're not in the room if you're not making these contributions or having highly-paid lobbyists well placed."Half of [Barack Obama]'s top ten contributors, together giving him nearly $2.2 million, are FIREmen. Of that figure, $748,000 comes from Goldman Sachs, which recently reincorporated, with the Treasury's blessing, into a bank holding company, hoping to survive. While it looks like Obama relies less on bundlers from this sector than [John McCain], "his campaign has ignored repeated requests from the Center for Responsive Politics and other watchdog groups to disclose his bundlers' employers and occupations," said CRP, with the $13 million so far attributed to such bundlers-called Obamasaurs" by the New York Observer-"probably" an undercount.[Rudy Giuliani], who raised $13.5 million from FIRE sources for his failed presidential bid, wasn't shy last month about how the system works: his firm announced a "financial industry task force" of his friends in the business to "guide" institutions, funds, and investors through the "legislative, regulatory and enforcement challenges" posed by the bailout Democrats called it "crass opportunism," but more realistic observers accepted this as business as usual.

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