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On donor disclosure, John McCain gets a B, Barack Obama gets a C

August 1, 2008 |  7:44 pm

John McCain lately has gotten huzzahs for fundraising transparency. Barack Obama? Not so much.

John Mccain McCain discloses his biggest fund-raisers, the high rollers who tap friends and associates to provide green for his campaign. In addition to posting hundreds of names, McCain identifies their employers and occupations -- a move that has caused him heartburn.

But in today's sharp-edged politics, transparency has its costs.

By listing bundlers’ occupations, he allows Democratic rivals to slam him for raising money from certain segments, such as say, the D.C. lobbying corp.

Obama also lists his big bundlers. But the candidate who urges transparency in all things government doesn’t disclose bundlers’ occupations or employers.

An Obama spokesman referred the curious to the Federal Election Commission website -- a site that for the uninitiated is not particularly easy to navigate.

All this is not to say that McCain is pure. Among his oversights: ...

... Texas oilman Clayton "Claytie" Williams. Williams' rather earthy sense of humor has caused him trouble, particularly when he was running for governor in 1990 against Ann Richards.

Williams is said to have raised $300,000 for McCain early in the campaign. But in June, after the Arizona senator had sewn up the nomination, McCain canceled a fundraiser that Williams planned.

The reason: Some media cited one of Williams' more regrettable remarks, in which he likened rape to bad weather -- ''If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.''

McCain spokesperson Brian Rogers pointedly explained the missing bundler: “We list folks who are currently raising money for the campaign. Mr. Williams is not.”

-- Dan Morain

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images