Big Money Donors Contributing to McCain Presidential Bid

By Jerry Miller | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

Kingston, NH ( - In an effort to remain competitive in the Republican presidential primaries to South Carolina and beyond, Senator John McCain will soon see his campaign coffers enriched by wealthy contributors during a three-day fund raising swing through New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Before the issue of tax cuts took over the campaign trail debate, McCain had campaign finance reform and what he characterized as the "corrupting influence of special interest money," as the focus of his quest for the Oval Office.

GOP activists in the Granite State, who are close to McCain, spoke on the condition of anonymity told and said the newly raised funds will be critical to their man's ability to compete in South Carolina and beyond.

Among those slated to hold fund-raisers for the senator are Edgar Bronfman, Jr, who heads Seagrams and is a frequent contributor to Democratic campaigns and HBO President John Billock, whose networks are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, which is overseen by the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by McCain. The committee also deals with legislation of importance to HBO and other broadcasters.

During a town meeting in this small New Hampshire community, McCain responded, "I can't account for their motivation," when asked if Bronfman and Billock might be looking for political favors, in terms of business they might have pending before the FCC or his committee.

Asked about Bronfman, McCain insisted he has had no previous dealings with the New Yorker and added, "He read my book and was impressed."

In addition to Bronfman and Billock, McCain will attend a fundraiser organized by media mogul Michael Bloomberg. The session will be held at Bloomberg's New York home.

According to McCain's schedule he will then head back to New England for a fundraiser hosted by State Street Bank Chairman and CEO Marshall Carter and Ernest Klein, a partner in the powerful Hale & Dorr law firm. Both are Boston-based.

According to the latest financial disclosure forms, McCain has raised $17 million in his presidential bid. The figure includes $2 million transferred from his last Senate race, He has also received an additional $7 million in federal matching funds. The McCain campaign has said it hopes to raise $25 million for the primary season.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush has raised nearly $70 million, but is taking no federal matching funds.