Obama Rewarded Almost 200 Campaign Donors with Government Jobs and Contracts…Just Like George W. Bush Did
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Tom Bernstein, bipartisan bundler
The more things change, the more they stay the same in Washington, DC, where the current president promised to do things differently from his predecessor, but in fact has done exactly the same thing George W. Bush did in rewarding big-time fundraisers with plum government posts.
A review of presidential appointments by The Center for Public Integrity found that about one-third of President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign bundlers, or their spouses, joined his administration once he was elected. For those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama, almost 80% of these individuals were given “key” administration positions. Furthermore, more than half of the bundlers who gained ambassadorships were from the half-a-million-plus group. About half of the $200,000 bundlers received appointments, but for those who in the range of $50,000, less than one in five won a spot in the Obama administration.
One example is Donald Gips, a vice president of Level 3 Communications LLC, who raised more than half a million for Obama in 2008. After the election, Gips was assigned to hire Obama’s White House staff. Later, he was made ambassador to South Africa. In March 2010, Level 3 received a federal stimulus grant of $13.7 million.
Some corners of the government are friendlier to bundlers than others. The Department of Justice gained seven bundlers, including its leader, Eric Holder, who raised $50,000 for the Obama campaign. Twenty-two bundlers made it onto the President’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities or to the board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
According to Public Citizen, George W. Bush, during the eight years of his presidency, appointed about 200 bundlers to administration positions.
Some bundlers know how to play both sides of the fence. New York City developer Tom Bernstein raised at least $100,000 for Bush’s 2000 campaign and was rewarded with an appointment to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. In 2008 he switched parties and raised at least $200,000 for Obama…and was again appointed to the Holocaust Council.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Obama Rewards Big Bundlers with Jobs, Commissions, Stimulus Money, Government Contracts, and More (by Fred Schulte, John Aloysius Farrell and Jeremy Borden, iWatch)
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