WaPo: Obama bundlers score big in government sinecures

posted at 2:30 pm on March 8, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Remember when Barack Obama was going to clean up Washington by eliminating the cycle of donors getting special access and jobs in the federal government?  Hope and Change Good times, good times.  Although this is no longer news — we’ve written about Obama’s bundler-employment program for months, as well as his pipeline for stimulus cash to their businesses — the Washington Post discovers that Obama hasn’t really cleaned up this one-horse town after all:

Big donors considering whether to work the phones raising money for President Obama’s reelection campaign might consider the fate of his 2008 bundlers. Many of them, it turns out, won plum jobs in his administration.

Obama campaigned on what he called “the most sweeping ethics reform in history” and has frequently criticized the role of money in politics. That hasn’t stopped him from offering government jobs to some of his biggest bundlers, volunteer fundraisers who gather political contributions from other rich donors.

More than half of Obama’s 47 biggest fundraisers, those who collected at least $500,000 for his campaign, have been given administration jobs. Nine more have been appointed to presidential boards and committees.

At least 24 Obama bundlers were given posts as foreign ambassadors, including in Finland, Australia, Portugal and Luxembourg. Among them is Don Beyer, a former Virginia lieutenant governor who serves as ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Hey, Obama didn’t invent this mechanism.  Patronage jobs go waaaaaay back, of course, and there’s nothing to indicate Obama has been any worse on this score than previous Democratic or Republican presidents (although the manipulation of government cash is an entirely different question).  However, Obama ran on changing the culture in Washington and specifically against this very practice, and so it’s hardly unfair to point out his hypocrisy.

Will that continue with a Republican president? Heck, it will obviously continue if Obama gets re-elected, but it’s safe to assume that the answer to that question is yes.  However, it’s also likely that even patronage appointments will improve in quality, if not decline in quantity:

Obama hired bundler Steve Spinner as a liaison in the Energy Department. According to internal e-mails turned over in a congressional investigation, Spinner pressed for staff members to finalize a government loan for Solyndra, the now-shuttered solar company in which another campaign bundler was a major investor. Spinner, according to the Obama administration, did not make any decisions affecting Solyndra. …

Nicole Avant, a music industry executive who raised at least $500,000, served as ambassador to the Bahamas until November.  The inspector general wrote that her tenure was part of “an extended period of dysfunctional leadership and mismanagement, which has caused problems throughout the embassy.” The report said Avant spent roughly 40 percent of her time out of the country over a two-year period. …

Luxembourg Ambassador Cynthia Stroum, a Seattle venture capitalist who raised $500,000 for Obama, was also criticized in an inspector general’s report, which said she sent her staff on a house-hunting mission, billed the government for bedding after being told she couldn’t and was “keenly interested” in the materials used for remodeling two bathrooms in her residence.

“Most employees describe the ambassador as aggressive, bullying, hostile, and intimidating,” inspectors wrote of Stroum.

Avant went back to bundling, and Stroum got replaced … by another bundler.

The Washington Post is a little late to the party (Politico had this in June 2011, for instance), but at least they didn’t wait until December 2012 to notice.  That’s better than business as usual for the media in the Obama era.

Update: The Washington Post doesn’t watch ABC News, either.  They had two written reports on this subject in mid-June 2011, along with Politico.  Thanks to Jake Tapper for the reminder, who also recalls doing a World News Tonight segment on the story but can’t find it at the moment.

Update II: Jake comes through with the World News segment from June 15, 2011:

I’m grateful that the Post caught up to this story, but a scoop it ain’t.


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These people’s concept of ” a loan” is ” We got your money, now leave us alone”

bbz123 on March 8, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Quid pro quo is the only latin that is spoken, inside of the Beltway.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 8, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Big Graft

faraway on March 8, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Only proves that money can buy you everything in a reform-minded (if hypocritical) administration.

Now I’ll be a good prole and shut up.

Turtle317 on March 8, 2012 at 2:35 PM

WaPo is just trying to ease its guilty conscience and convince the gullible that they’ve been on Obama’s case, exposing the truth all along. Just more lies and deception.

stukinIL4now on March 8, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Surprise, surprise oh what an unexpected surprise!
Meanwhile Rush called someone a slut…and the MSM finds every excuse to talk about something, other than what JugEars is doing.

KOOLAID2 on March 8, 2012 at 2:46 PM

More than half of Obama’s 47 biggest fundraisers, those who collected at least $500,000 for his campaign, have been given administration jobs.

You wingnuts don’t realize this means 48% unemployment for our bundlers. Have a heart.

faraway on March 8, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Pimp in Chief, in all regards

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2012 at 2:51 PM

So El Presidente Downgrade is simply trying to buy his way back into the oval orifice.

Does this surprise anyone?

OH! Look over there – Rush said something offensive, Get Him!

Chip on March 8, 2012 at 2:52 PM

There’s a whole lot of beak-wetting going on with these birds.

trigon on March 8, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Gotta get rid of the promises unkept now before the summer

cmsinaz on March 8, 2012 at 2:54 PM

It gets really really old that everything is exactly opposite of what they say. And why wouldn’t they just keep lying? The media won’t vet. And anyone that does vet them is rascist!

kirkill on March 8, 2012 at 2:54 PM

However, Obama ran on changing the culture in Washington and specifically against this very practice, and so it’s hardly unfair to point out his hypocrisy.

Democrats put the ‘Hip’ in hypocrisy.

Chip on March 8, 2012 at 2:55 PM

“Money Laundering.” The only green jobs Obama can deliver.

locomotivebreath1901 on March 8, 2012 at 2:57 PM

YOU WILL HEAR WHAT YOU’RE TOLD!!

…end communique.

John Kettlewell on March 8, 2012 at 2:59 PM

“Money Laundering.” The only green jobs Obama can deliver.

locomotivebreath1901 on March 8, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Hey, that’s the phrase I wanna see on a bumper sticker!

Archivarix on March 8, 2012 at 2:59 PM

And it’s not just the big money bundlers. I was at a training program at Georgetown University last fall and there was a young lady in the class who spent the entire two weeks telling everyone she was a political appointee. She was in a management position in Dept. of Commerce, in her 20′s, fresh out of college, zero work experience, zero people skills, yet she was managing career civil servants based on her GOTV and fund-raising work in Wisconsin. At the end of the program I did ask her how she’d feel about joining the unemployment line in Jan, 2013. She wasn’t very nice to me!

Oh, and Georgetown didn’t provide me with contraception during the whole two weeks I was there. I’m thinking of suing.

Trafalgar on March 8, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Sinecures?

Is that an Austrian word??….. wha…?

ted c on March 8, 2012 at 3:01 PM

What would be reading about EVERY DAY if all the krap that goes on with this group…occured under Regan or Bush?

KOOLAID2 on March 8, 2012 at 3:03 PM

The Washington Post is a little late to the party (Politico had this in June 2011, for instance), but at least they didn’t wait until December 2012 to notice. That’s better than business as usual for the media in the Obama era.

They just went the other way — put it out there in March when everybody is paying attention to the GOP race. Will be forgotten by most come the fall.

Bitter Clinger on March 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Republicans never do this kinda thing! Should make a great election issue…oh wait…nevermind

Afterseven on March 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM

it’s hardly unfair to point out his hypocrisy.

The left doesn’t care about hypocrisy. They really don’t. It’s just a theater prop.

kunegetikos on March 8, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Coincidence, I’m sure

notropis on March 8, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Hmm…this thread died in a hurry. Great subject, too! Maybe if Ed had used “do-nothing government jobs” instead of the b@llsy “sinecures”…
:P

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on March 8, 2012 at 6:14 PM

If this bag of crap should be impeached or imprisoned (or both, I wish) for anything at all it should be for this.

We can work our way down the list of his treacheries once he’s in a state prison somewhere. No, not a fed prison. I want him in the same cell block they throw all the child molesters and r@pists.

Wolfmoon on March 8, 2012 at 7:13 PM

HYPOCRISY has been the HALLMARK of this administration.

GarandFan on March 8, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Yeah, and the J@ck@ss-In-Chief was going to get rid of the lobbyists and special interests. He got ‘em off K Street, all right, and put ‘em ALL in his administration!!! That’s why he’s the LIAR-In-Chief!?!

Colatteral Damage on March 9, 2012 at 4:33 PM