Flash: Top 200 Obama donors get cushy government jobs, perks

“Change” you can believe in (via Memeorandum):

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.


Israel as a major oil exporter?

**Posted by Phineas

This could be a potential game-changer both in the Mideast and globally:

Look Out, Saudis? Israel Is Sitting On Huge Oil Shale Deposits

The World Energy Council has determined that about 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem, in the Shfela Basin, there are oil shale deposits with the potential to yield 250 billion barrels of oil. This represents the world’s third-largest quantity of oil shale behind the US and China. Oilprice.com notes that both those countries would consume almost all their own production, so Israel could conceivably become the world’s largest exporter of shale oil.


Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves are 260 billion barrels, so we would appear to be in the running as an energy giant — particularly in view of the enormous natural gas finds at the Tamar and Leviathan fields. But there’s quite a distance yet to travel. For one thing, extracting oil from shale isn’t the same as drilling it out of the ground. It’s more difficult and more expensive.

This comes on the heels of major natural gas finds off Israel’s northern coast.

It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of these two finds for Israel, which could easily meet its own energy needs, and for the America and the West, which would love to have a major friendly supplier of oil and gas that’s both outside of OPEC (1) and not Russia. Granted, development is years off and shale oil is more expensive to extract than drilled oil, but author Judith Levy points out that an Israeli start-up company has developed a way to extract the oil for only $35-$40 per barrel, an eminently economical cost.

(In fact, it would be really keen if we could share in that technology, given the huge shale-oil reserves we possess. Good thing we have an administration that’s worked day and night to stay friends with Israel. )

Levy provides a map that also shows major shale oil deposits under Jordan, whose generally pro-Western government has been dependent on aid from both America and Saudi Arabia. This would be a potential boon for them, too, giving them their own source of revenue and jobs, and making them less dependent on Saudi Arabian money and gas from an Egypt that’s trending toward Islamism.

Like the massive finds of shale oil in the US, these discoveries carry the possibility of a major realignment of economic power in the world. But, unlike the US until at least 2013, we can be sure the Israelis will exploit them.

via Baseball Crank


(1) Come on. Does anyone really think the Arab-dominated OPEC will let al Yahud join? Or that Israel would want to?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The Running Man: the sequel

**Posted by Phineas

No, not Arnold Schwarzenegger… unless it’s from Maria’s lawyers.

Rather, the “running man” in this case according to Jim Geraghty is Barack Obama, who spent fully half of the ten years from 1998-2008 running for higher office:

2008: Barring some nefarious plot by Hillary Clinton, Obama will be running for president until November. For purposes of this exercise, we’ll count this as 11 months of campaigning.

2007: Announced exploratory committee on January 16. Formally announced presidential campaign on February 10. I’m counting all 12 months.

2006: Serving in U.S. Senate. While some would argue Obama was unofficially campaigning already, including appearing at events in Iowa, for the purposes of this calculation we will count his campaigning as starting from the announcement of the exploratory committee. 0 months.

2005: Serving in U.S. Senate. 0 months.

2004: Running for U.S. Senate; elected in November. 11 months.

2003: Running for U.S. Senate. 12 months.

Click through for the rest.

Obama announced his reelection campaign last April, 19 months before the next election, with roughly 40% of his term remaining. And what’s he been doing since then?

Running for office isn’t just what he does best — it’s all he knows.

I hope he has good shoes.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)