The Washington Post is reporting that over half of President Barack Obama’s largest donors from the 2008 election received prime jobs in his White House. While political favors to election donors are nothing new, this is particularly notable because of the number of White House positions “bought” and because Obama had promised a new level of transparency and ethics in Washington.
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.
“We think that the pendulum has swung a bit too far toward the patronage side of things,” said Susan Johnson, president of the American Foreign Service Association, which represents career officers.
Obama has appointed campaign bundlers to a range of other jobs as well. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was a bundler, raising at least $50,000, as was Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, who raised at least half a million dollars.
While some appointees may be qualified for their positions, the “purchase” of the office of Attorney General by Eric Holder — who has repeatedly acted with blatant political partisanship and/or incompetence — is particularly troubling.