That “culture of corruption” keeps rearing its ugly head with Democrats.  One of the key figures in the pay-for-play scandal that derailed Bill Richardson’s appointment to Barack Obama’s Cabinet also has connections to Obama himself.  David Rubin did the “pay” part of the equation in September, coughing up $30,000 for the general election:

President-elect Barack Obama took big money from a man at the center of a federal probe that has forced one of Obama’s top Cabinet picks to withdraw.

Financial records show the Obama campaign got more than $30,000 from California financier David Rubin, the target of an investigation into donations and possible “pay-to-play” deals involving New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Obama’s pick for commerce secretary. …

In late September, Rubin attended an exclusive Los Angeles fundraiser for Obama, held at the Beverly Hills’ Greystone Mansion. Attendees gave tens of thousands of dollars which the campaign split between its own coffers, the Democratic National Committee and state-level campaign groups supporting Obama and Democratic candidates. The technique helps campaigns take in from individuals far more than the $2,300 maximum they are allowed to give to a single campaign fund.

Rubin’s money went to a joint Obama-DNC fund ($28,500), the DNC itself ($26,200), and to the Obama campaign ($2,300), according to the database of campaign donations at OpenSecrets.Org. News of the federal investigation into Rubin’s New Mexico dealings had broken less than three weeks earlier.

Hmmm.  They invited Rubin to give over $31,000 to Obama even though Democrats knew that Rubin faced a federal probe for bribery?  Overall, they took almost $60,000 from Rubin that night, three weeks after the investigation into his connections to Richardson and the municipal-bonds contracts was revealed. And that’s not Rubin’s first dance with the feds, either; he got raided in 2006 by Justice on suspicious business dealings between banks and governments, and for concerns about the high fees CDR charges.

One has to wonder what Rubin thought he was getting with the $57,800 he spent on dinner that night.  Pleasant company?  According to ABC, Rubin sat “one table away” from Leonardo DiCaprio and Chris Rock, so he didn’t get to converse with Hollywood stars directly.  Good food?  I’ve had some good dinners, but I wouldn’t pay fifty-eight grand for a car, let alone a steak (or Tofurkey).

Rubin claims he has done nothing wrong, and so far, he hasn’t even been indicted.  However, for a party that turned “culture of corruption” into a campaign theme in 2006, their courtship of Rubin looks as though they’ve decided to make it more of an internal policy.  If he gets indicted in New Mexico on pay-for-play charges, this little soiree will get more attention, specifically for what Rubin expected for his $57,800.