Washington's Blog: Bush Versus Obama: Who's Worse?
Obama Names Top Fundraisers to Major Political Posts. Glenn Greenwald notes today: Last week, the Obama administration announced its choice to lead the Federal Communications Commission: Tom Wheeler, who is not only a former telecom lobbyist, but also a huge bundler for the Obama campaign. The New York Times Editorial Page today explains that this choice is raising serious questions about Obama's 2007 pledge that corporate lobbyists would not finance his campaign or run his administration. It also notes that "given his background, it is almost certain that Wheeler raised money for Obama from people whose companies he would regulate, creating potential conflicts of interest. Last week, President Obama named another big bundler of his, the billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker, to be his Commerce Secretary. At the Nation, Rick Perlstein details just some of the interesting questions about that choice that need to be explored. At this point, the only surprising thing is that need to be explored. At this point, the only surprising thing is that there are any more bundlers left for Obama to appoint to important administration positions. While despicable, this is nothing new. The Center for Public Integrity reported in 2011, that Obama had rewarded as many big money bundlers in 2 years, as Bush had appointed in 8: The Center wrote: As a candidate, Obama spoke passionately about diminishing the clout of moneyed interests, and making the White House more accessible to everyday Americans. In kicking off his presidential run on February 10, 2007, he blasted the cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests, who he said had turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. But: Overall, 184 of 556, or about one third, of Obama bundlers or their spouses joined the administration in some role. But the percentages are much higher for the big dollar bundlers. Nearly 80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took key administration posts, as defined by the White House. More than half the ambassador nominees who were bundlers raised more than half a million. The big bundlers had broad access to the White House for meetings with top administration officials and glitzy social events. In all, campaign bundlers and their family members account for more than 3,000 White House meetings and visits. Half of them raised $200,000 or more. Some of Obama bundlers have ties to companies that stand to gain financially from the president's policy agenda, particularly in clean energy and telecommunications, and some already have done so. Level 3 Communications, for instance, snared $13.8 million in stimulus money.