Donors to Obama got big government contracts through Stimulus
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. . . .
Jake Tapper is even tougher at ABC News:
President Obama launched his campaign in 2007 promising a change in the way business is done in Washington, D.C., but today a report from the Center for Public Integrity says that when it comes to major campaign donors scoring plum administration positions, it's business as usual. . . .
But the percentages are much higher for the big-dollar bundlers. Nearly "80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took 'key administration posts,' as defined by the White House," the report said.
The center pointed out that candidate Obama suggested that big moneyed interests would not have as prominent a role in D.C. during his administration.
"The cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests who've turned our government into a game, only they can afford to play," said then-Sen. Obama in his February 2007 announcement speech. "They get the access while you get to write a letter. ... The time for that kind of politics is over." . . . .