Did Obama amplify pork for bundlers?

posted at 1:30 pm on August 12, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama claims to be a reformer, and even accomplished one particular achievement with the Coburn-Obama bill creating a federal spending database to keep Senators and Representatives accountable for their pork.  Obama may wish he’d accomplished slightly less, as The Next Right has done some checking on Obama’s own earmarks, and found some very interesting connections between fundraising and pork.  The Adler Planetarium has found a lot more money since its trustees began bundling for Obama:

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Frank Clark, stands out amongst Obama supporters. On Sen. Obama’s website, Mr. Clark is listed as a bundler who raised in excess of $200,000 for the Senator’s Presidential campaign. In 2004, Mr. Clark donated $5,000 to the then State Senator Obama’s U.S. Senate bid. In 2005, Mr. Clark became the Chairman of the Board at Adler Planetarium, and in 2006 Sen. Obama earmarked $300,000 to the Planetarium. Then, in the same year that Mr. Clark’s involvement in the Obama campaign skyrocketed to raising an excess of $200,000, Sen. Obama’s earmark for the Adler Planetarium increased tenfold to $3,000,000.

Mr. Clark isn’t the only problematic donor. Two of the Vice Chairmen of the Board, Brian Cressey and Peter Thompson are also significant donors. Between donations from Mr. Thompson and the Cressey household, Sen. Obama received $13,800. The most significant donor here is Mr. Cressey. As a first time donor, Mr. Cressey gave the maximum possible individual donation in essentially one big check. What makes this even more troubling is that Mr. Cressey had never given to Sen. Obama before 2008, the year in which the Adler Planetarium’s earmark increased tenfold.

The fact that three ranking members of the Adler Planetarium’s Board donated huge sums of money (at least $200,000) is interesting by itself. The fact that these enormous contributions came in the same year that Sen. Obama increased their earmark by 900% is truly unsettling.

Unsettling, business as usual, or both? Barack Obama won momentum and eventually his party’s nomination by casting himself as something new, an outsider who could reform Washington. Unfortunately, as this shows, it looks like Obama feels right at home inside the Beltway. He’s already granting taxpayer money as spoils to his bundlers, and he’s only been in the Senate three years.

Of course, if voters really want change, they could elect John McCain. He doesn’t earmark funds at all. Obama offers nothing more than cheap sloganeering on top of a well-seasoned Chicago machine politician.


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Did his wife get another pay-raise after the planetarium funding?

Bishop on August 12, 2008 at 1:31 PM

Obama is the same old,same old Washington pig.

becki51758 on August 12, 2008 at 1:35 PM

Looks like he’s giving us all the finger

cntrlfrk on August 12, 2008 at 1:38 PM

When I move back to Illinois, I will make a point to never visit the Adler Planetarium again. This is downright disgusting.

Then again, as a physics geeks, I’ve always felt the study of the skies and space was a big waste of time. I’ll go visit Fermilab again, instead. They actually work on things that will benefit society.

ynot4tony2 on August 12, 2008 at 1:38 PM

I’m not sure if this story is a distraction or just racist.

I’ll hedge my bets and call it a racist distraction.

Ares on August 12, 2008 at 1:40 PM

What is truly unsettling is that these are basically transfer payments. Donors give to politician’s campaign fund, politician gives taxpayer funds to donor’s employer, and donor gets a raise or a bonus to cover the cost of the donation. Political money laundering is the only way to describe it. Obama is no better or worse than the rest of the politicians in laundering money this way, except that he claims he is above all this, so he is also a lying hypocrite.

Think_b4_speaking on August 12, 2008 at 1:41 PM

The water has to go somewhere when he lowers the tides, so rain on his parade would be ideal.

Grafted on August 12, 2008 at 1:42 PM

Obamas entire life has been about getting elected.

He doesn’t do anything unless it will help him achieve that goal.

He is very dangerous.

EJDolbow on August 12, 2008 at 1:42 PM

Eh, Obama fits right in up there on the hill.

I hope McCain’s people make this into a nice little ad.

4shoes on August 12, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Grafted on August 12, 2008 at 1:42 PM

Wow, I was on the pray for rain threat when I posted this and it showed up here. Oh well.

Grafted on August 12, 2008 at 1:44 PM

Why isn’t this a campaign commercial? Also, why isn’t the fact that Obama took more money from big oil a commercial, calling Obama a liar right to his face? I would like to see the word “LIAR!” in a campaign ad…that’s how they did it when our country was first founded…they called each other lairs, traitors, you name it, they said it.

JustTruth101 on August 12, 2008 at 1:52 PM

Oh Ed… really! You’re just so suspicious of The Prince of Peace….

D2Boston on August 12, 2008 at 1:52 PM

Obama is emerging more every day as a seriously flawed candidate for the highest office this country has.

jeanie on August 12, 2008 at 2:00 PM

Obama is the same old,same old Washington pig.

becki51758 on August 12, 2008 at 1:35 PM

I think you are insulting Washington pigs. obama strikes me more as a Chicago machine politician.

Linh_My on August 12, 2008 at 2:01 PM

they called each other lairs, traitors, you name it, they said it.

JustTruth101 on August 12, 2008 at 1:52 PM

Even some fancy insults like mountebank, and blackguard!

jeff_from_mpls on August 12, 2008 at 2:03 PM

Even some fancy insults like mountebank, and blackguard!

jeff_from_mpls on August 12, 2008 at 2:03 PM

You said “blackguard”. Racist!

Buford Gooch on August 12, 2008 at 2:05 PM

Linh_My on August 12, 2008 at 2:01 PM

hmm..you may be right.

becki51758 on August 12, 2008 at 2:10 PM

Looks like he’s giving us all the finger

cntrlfrk on August 12, 2008 at 1:38 PM

He is. That’s how he views America and, particularly, Americans. OK. Let me back up. That’s how he views independent, self-sufficient Americans.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on August 12, 2008 at 2:12 PM

You love the plane-arium. Not going to the plane-arium causes you great pain…

xyan on August 12, 2008 at 2:13 PM

“Outsider” O’bama (I use the gloital stop as he was born in Hawai’i) is spending his vacation at an 11,000 square foot home right on the priciest beach on O’ahu. That’s all one needs to know.

Speaking of pork, he may not want to eat any while he’s there, as 4500 pounds of pork products in Hawai’i were just recalled by the Feds.

http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/3615

Del Dolemonte on August 12, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Don’t you understand that the planetarium needed the money to study the heavens, from whence the Messiah came?

CP on August 12, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Just like Harry “the war is lost” Reid and his land deals.
liberals and the msm pretty much ignore this type of corruption,they are to busy whinnying about Haliburton and all those EEEEVVVIIIILLLL oil executives.

Baxter Greene on August 12, 2008 at 2:25 PM

Considering his love of pork, the “Obama’s a muslim” argument should pretty well be put to rest.

yo on August 12, 2008 at 2:35 PM

I’m hoping that McCain is saving all his earmark ammunition for the debates. This, plus father Phleger money and the fact that McCain doesn’t give special money to anyone is some powerful stuff.

BadgerHawk on August 12, 2008 at 3:01 PM

I prefer the “plane-arium”.

I keep saying that nobody, NOBODY can raise the most funds for a Presidential campaign ever in a short amount of time, forego campaign finance spending limits and NOT have done so above table.

Surely there’s got to be SOME conservative out there that has access to the raw data and can do the investigation. (Oh wait, I keep forgetting that conservatives “work”)

Skywise on August 12, 2008 at 3:26 PM

If McCain doesn’t earmark like all the rest, how does he stay on top in Arizona? Seems like the only way politicos stay around is by channeling money. What’s his strategy at home, and could it work nation wide?

oakpack on August 12, 2008 at 3:52 PM

For your amusement: Barack campaign website ethics page

Discuss amongst yourselves about the Deceptive One.

electric-rascal on August 12, 2008 at 8:47 PM