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Obama Will Return Corzine's Campaign Cash, All ... $5,000 Of It

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Don't let it be said that Republican staffers are a lazy bunch. News had barely got out on Monday that MF Global was filing for bankruptcy when the GOP put out a press release, helpfully titled “Jon Corzine, Obama bundler, Obama Wall Street point man, golden parachute,” tying the beleaguered Democrat and ex-New Jersey governor to President Obama. So good job, interns at the GOP!

Yes, the Republicans have gleefully unwrapped the early political Christmas gift that is the Corzine-led implosion of MF Global. And Corzine is the gift that gives giving: Now that regulators are investigating the possibility that insider trading took place at the bankrupt firm, the GOP is calling for Obama to return campaign contributions by Corzine.

"In light of the FBI investigation into Jon Corzine's company, President Obama should immediately return the $500,000 that Corzine raised on his behalf," RNC chairman Reince Priebus said.

How was Corzine able to raise so much, with individual donations capped at $5,000? Corzine is one of Obama’s top bundlers for his reelection campaign. For those unfamiliar with bundling, the Center for Responsive Politics’ explains:

Bundlers are people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who's willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate in one big "bundle."

It’s not as if Corzine went door-to-door like your local Greenpeace rep soliciting donation pledges: Wealthy bundlers often throw glamorous $30,000-a-head fundraising dinner parties, which attendees gladly pony up for in hopes of rubbing shoulders with political leaders.

We don’t know how much exactly Corzine has managed to amass for the Obama Victory Fund, only that he is in the top tier of bundlers who have collected at least $500,000 for the president.

If Jon Corzine is indicted for civil or criminal charges over the MF Global saga, Obama will return Corzine’s individual contribution, but not the sum he bundled together, his campaign says. So that’ll be $5,000 gone from his reelection campaign ... not a whole lot of money, especially since the president has plenty of other big-name bundlers.

So who else is doing double duty as a top Obama campaign fundraiser? There’s Comcast executive vice president David Cohen, who has bundled at least $1.2 million for Obama (this is where many Republicans who have long accused NBC, which was acquired by Comcast, of being too left-leaning say, “I told you so!”)

There’s also Robert Wolf, chairman and CEO of UBS America and member of the president's Council for Jobs and Competitiveness, and Charles Myers, who’s a senior managing director at Evercore. Some might call their support a symptom of Stockholm syndrome, given how the president has attacked Wall Street "fat cats" like them.

Of course, there’s also the liberal Hollywood set who are ardent supporters of Obama. Besides Jeffrey Katzenberg, head honcho at Viacom subsidiary Dreamworks Animation, there’s also movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who threw a $35,800 per guest fundraiser for Obama back in August that attracted the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, her husband Chris Martin, legendary Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour (who herself is a top Obama bundler), Alicia Keys, Jimmy Fallon, and Quentin Tarantino, among others.

It makes one curious: Did Obama share his favorite Tarantino movie? Discuss the key trends of Fall/Winter 2011 with Wintour? One thing's for sure though: The president must be really good at small talk.

(See also: Why the MF Global Crisis Matters More Than You Think: 3 Key Lessons)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.