It has been clear for some time that President Obama has followed the time-dishonored practice of rewarding campaign contributors with cushy jobs in government and other benefits. But a new report by the Center for Public Integrity documents the outrageous extent to which the president's financial benefactors are being installed in important positions, including ambassadorships.
An inquiry by the center's investigative team found that more than two years into Obama's 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." Especially likely to be rewarded are "bundlers," fundraisers who collect contributions from many individuals.
"Nearly 80% of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took 'key administration posts,' as defined by the White House," the report said. "More than half the ambassador nominees who were bundlers raised more than half a million." (Twenty-four bundlers have been appointed ambassadors).
Not every bundler appointed to an important position is unqualified, as the report might suggest. For example, the report notes that Obama named Julius Genachowski, who bundled $500,000 for his campaign, as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Yet Genachowski is also a former chief counsel to an FCC chairman and an expert in telecommunications law.