Telecom executive Donald H. Gips raised a big bundle of cash to help finance his friend Barack Obama’s run for the presidency.
Gips, a vice president of Colorado-based Level 3 Communications, delivered more than $500,000 in contributions for the Obama war chest, while two other company executives collected at least $150,000 more.
After the election, Gips was put in charge of hiring in the Obama White House, helping to place loyalists and fundraisers in many key positions. Then, in mid-2009, Obama named him ambassador to South Africa. Meanwhile, Level 3 Communications, in which Gips retained stock, received millions of dollars of government stimulus contracts for broadband projects in six states — though Gips said he had been “completely unaware” that the company had received the contracts.
More than two years after Obama took office vowing to banish “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, an investigation by iWatch News has found.
These “bundlers” raised at least $50,000 — and sometimes more than $500,000 — in campaign donations for Obama’s campaign. Many of those in the “Class of 2008” are now being asked to bundle contributions for Obama’s reelection, an effort that could cost $1 billion.
As a candidate, Obama spoke passionately about diminishing the clout of moneyed interests. Kicking off his presidential run on Feb. 10, 2007, he blasted “the cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests,” who had “turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.”
“We’re here today to take it back,” he said.
Probably one of the biggest shams perpetrated by this President is the lie that he is not beholden to big donors, lobbyists, and other special interests, as I have documented numerous times – both when he was a candidate and since he was elected (see here and here for recent examples, and below for a more comprehensive list). Ed Morrissey says this is just another nail in the proverbial “change” coffin and should surprise very few at this point:
Presidents have long rewarded donors with diplomatic portfolios. However, they usually didn’t run on the promise to end the influence of big money in the Beltway to get into the position of playing along with business as usual. This will only surprise those who believed that a machine pol from Chicago who never bothered to challenge the status quo in the Windy City somehow had credibility as a reformer as a presidential candidate.
To add even more fuel to the fire, WH spoxdude Jay Carney slipped, slid, and spun all over the place yesterday when asked about a recent meeting between President Obama and Wall Street execs in the WH Blue Room:
White House press secretary Jay Carney is defending President Barack Obama’s decision to meet in the White House residence with top Wall Street donors who could be key fundraisers for his reelection bid.
The New York Times, which disclosed the session in a story in Monday editions, said the confab was organized by the Democratic National Committee. On the surface, the meeting sounds somewhat like controversial DNC-arranged coffees that President Bill Clinton held at the White House during the 1996 campaign.
“What needs to be made clear is, contrary to suggestions otherwise, this was not a fundraiser. And the fact that a president meets with his supporters in the business arena to solicit ideas about how to improve the economy is surely a dog-bites-man story,” Carney told reporters during a gaggle aboard Air Force One on Tuesday. “It’s something that presidents of both parties have always done. So, I don’t know what else to say about it.”
The question put to Carney was not about the propriety of the meeting but about why it didn’t appear on Obama’s public schedule despite pledges to be transparent about his daily agenda. The press secretary shed little light on that discrepancy.
The only shocking thing about story is the fact that it was the liberal New York Times that reported it. You know things are getting bad for this administration when even their most faithful news outlets start questioning just what the heck is going on. Glad to see them doing so. Hopefully, the eventual GOP nominee will hold our celebrity President’s feet to the fire on this as well as just one more of the phony pledges made by candidate Obama.
- 8/9/07 – Confronting media-aided myths: Barack Obama is no political “outsider”
- 2/20/08 – Whopper of the week: Barack Obama’s claim that he is responsible “to no one but the people”
- 2/21/08 – Barack Obama’s ties to lobbyists and special interests
- 2/21/08 – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama rank number 1 and 2 for most contributions by lawyers and lobbyists
- 2/27/08 – Obama indicates he will not, as previously pledged, opt for public financing if he becomes the Dem nominee
- 2/27/08 – Obama’s campaign finance games
- 5/25/08 – More on Obama’s hypocrisy regarding lobbyists
- 6/19/08 – Obama’s position on public financing: Just words
- 6/23/08 – Barack Obama betrays his own words once again on special interests
- 7/31/08 – Eight watchdog groups find McCain more transparent about campaign donations than Obama
- 9/15/08 – More on Barack Obama’s “responsible only to the people” lie
- 10/29/08 – Obama campaign donors get access to “top campaign advisers”, depending on how much they donate
- 1/31/09 – Tax issues and lobbyist links strike another Obama cabinet pick