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Romney Bundler Is Lobbyist For The Dominican Republic’s Birther Presidential Candidate

By Josh Israel  

"Romney Bundler Is Lobbyist For The Dominican Republic’s Birther Presidential Candidate"

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Ignacio E. Sanchez

Romney Bundler and Registered Foreign Agent Ignacio E. Sanchez (credit: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars)

Last week, 31 of the 32 Senators in the Dominican Republic’s Congress sent President Barack Obama an apology. The reason? Highly offensive comments by former Dominican Republic President Hipolito Mejia, who is currently seeking to reclaim the job he held from 2000 to 2004. He lost in a landslide defeat amid a national economic crisis and financial near-collapse.

Mejia recently told a gathering of New York clergy that Obama “came from Africa and grew up over there.” Watch the video:

But there are two noteworthy things about this incident for followers of American polics.

First, as ThinkProgress exclusively reported in February, Mejia has retained a U.S. lobbyist to represent his presidential campaign’s interests before the U.S. government. His lobbyist is Ignacio E. Sanchez, of DLA Piper, and that makes Sanchez a registered foreign agent.

Sanchez is one of a growing number of lobbyists who are also “bundlers” for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He’s already reaised at least $86,700 in bundled contributions for the former Massachusetts governor.

President Obama does not accept campaign contributions donated or bundled by federal lobbyists or foreign agents. In last his January State of the Union address, he said, “Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa — an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington.” He also voluntarily discloses all of his major bundlers, as did Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and President George W. Bush (R) in their 2000, 2004, and 2008 races.

But Romney — who has not voluntarily disclosed any bundlers who are not lobbyists — is apparently all too happy to accept money from those who are paid to influence policy decisions on behalf of special interests, foreign and domestic. Apparently, even if they represent foreign leaders who make unfounded scurrilous attacks on the legitimacy of the United States president and the credibility of its political system.

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that the minister next to Mejia in the video, who bursts out into enthusiastic laughter at the comment, is Pentecostal Christian Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. Diaz is the rabidly anti-gay New York State senator and volunteer National Organization of Marriage spokesman. While nominally a Democrat, Diaz has crossed party lines to endorse anti-gay Republicans over pro-equality Democrats.

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