Obama’s Jobs for Fatcats program
posted at 9:25 pm on February 17, 2010 by Karl
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The Daily Caller gets the ball rolling:
Barack Obama has long decried the corrupting influence of money in politics. As a candidate, he ran against lobbyists and the pay-for-play culture of Washington. As president, he has continued to hammer the theme, most recently in his impassioned attacks on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission.
Given this, it’s a little surprising to learn that Obama has not only embraced the sordid money-driven culture of DC, but actually outdone his predecessors. An analysis by the American Foreign Service Association, for example, found that Obama has stuffed the diplomatic corps with more political appointees (i.e., cronies) than any president in the past 40 years. Only a year into the administration, close of half of the president’s biggest donors already have federal jobs.
Of course, it is really no surprise, as Obama’s bundlers got perks during campaign and were are made to feel part of its inner workings through weekly conference calls and quarterly meetings, advance copies of his speeches, access to his top advisers, opportunities to influence the campaign’s message, and so on.
The DC’s Chris Palko goes on to list the Obama bundlers who landed plum jobs with the administration. However, the story does not examine their biographies, so here are a few highlights.
Howard Gutman raised over $500,000 for Obama, and is now Ambassador to Belgium. He was once a lobbyist, but more recently a lawyer whose clientele included Susan L. Rosenberg. Who is she? Rosenberg is a one-time member of the Weather Underground terrorist group who was charged in the notorious 1981 Brink’s robbery that left a guard and two police officers dead. Her pardon was blasted across the political spectrum.
Tom Perelli, another lawyer who raised over $500,000 for Obama, is now Assistant Attorney General. His former clients include the RIAA, and he is continuing the crusade against teenagers downloading MP3s from his new post. He also helped Michael Schiavo terminate his wife’s life support.
Alan Solomont, another top-tier buck-raker, is now Ambassador to Spain. In his past life he was a founder of J Street, a recently formed “pro-peace” Jewish lobby designed to be a counter to AIPAC, from which even Democrats scramble.
Then there are the folks from Wall Street. Democrats usually see these folks as greedy jackals who destroyed the global economy, unless Obama puts them in the special “savvy businessman” box. For example, Michael Froman, who raised over $200,000 for Obama, is now Deputy National Security Advisor for International and Economic Affairs. He worked for Citigroup. Eric Schwartz, who raised over $100,000 for Change, is now Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration. He worked for Goldman Sachs. Louis Susman raised over $200,000 for Obama, and landed a gig as Ambassador to the Court of St. James in the UK. He worked for Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking.
This just scratches the surface. The story is a nice addition to the reporting already done showing that the Obama administration is stuffed with the people who created the financial crisis in the first place. But there is more to mine from the data.