Obama gives back some of the Corzine cash
posted at 10:20 am on December 26, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
And only some, but this Friday night news dump serves another purpose. The mainstream media finally had to talk about the bundling Jon Corzine did for Barack Obama this year in the context of the MF Global scandal and the disappearance of $1.2 billion in customer funds:
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has returned campaign contributions from Jon S. Corzine, former chairman and chief executive officer of MF Global Holdings Ltd., according to a Democratic official.
Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee refunded the money from the former New Jersey governor out of an abundance of caution, said the official, who requested anonymity. Republicans have criticized the president for keeping contributions from the head of a firm that collapsed and filed for bankruptcy.
Corzine, 64, and his wife, Sharon Elghanayan, each contributed $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee and $5,000 to Obama’s campaign, the maximum amounts that individuals are allowed to give, said the official. Corzine, who testified before a congressional panel about MF Global’s bankruptcy and $1.2 billion in missing customer funds, has been one of Obama’s top fundraisers this election cycle. In April, Corzine hosted a fundraiser for Obama at his Manhattan home.
“Out of an abundance of caution”? Not exactly; the only legal and fiscal consequence of keeping the cash would be that they would have had to give it back at some point if a court tried to claw back some of Corzine’s contributions. The “caution” in this case is the need to put as much distance between Obama and Corzine as possible for political, not legal, reasons. Corzine’s ties to the Obama campaign will be poisonous in a general election, especially if Obama has to run against Mitt Romney, whom Team Obama have already started attacking as part of the Wall Street crowd that stole America’s prosperity.
However, it’s pretty clear who was closest to a Wall Street theft in this election cycle:
President Obama is trying to put some distance between himself and the wreckage of bankrupt brokerage MF Global. But not too much distance.
After returning more than $70,000 to Jon Corzine, the CEO who led MF Global into bankruptcy, the president’s re-election organizations are still hanging onto nearly $150,000 connected to the firm, The Post has learned.
An Obama campaign official said no MF Global donations besides Corzine’s have been refunded. “Contributions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and if the facts merit it, they will be returned,” the official told The Post.
So Obama’s still keeping more than twice the amount he’s returning to Corzine of other MF Global contributions? Hmmm. Sounds as though Obama has an inkling where the problem at MF Global was, huh?
They’re also not letting go of the rest of the money bundled by Corzine, either:
Corzine was one of 41 donors who bundled more than $500,000 this year for Obama’s re-election effort, according to documents released by the campaign Oct. 14. So-called bundlers arrange for contributions from other people and funnel the money to campaigns.
Obama’s campaign doesn’t plan to return those bundled donations and will evaluate other contributions from MF Global employees on a case-by-case basis, according to the Democratic official.
Over the past 20 years, Corzine, along with his first and second wives, directly contributed $917,000 to Democratic committees and candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, which tracks political giving.
So out of almost a million dollars connected to Corzine, which may or may not include part or all of the other $150,000 from MF Global, Obama and the DNC are returning only $70,000? No wonder they dumped this news on the Friday before Christmas. They’ve relieved themselves of 7.6% of their Corzine money, which means they’re still 92.4% connected to the man who may have been the architect of a billion-dollar theft.
Update: OK, to be fair, the $917K number represents 20 years of fundraising and contributions from Corzine. In this cycle alone, though, Corzine bundled $500,000 or more for Obama. Let’s recalculate on that basis. Obama and the Democrats have refunded 14% of Corzine-related money in this cycle, and have kept 86%.
Yeah, that’s not much of an improvement, is it?