Though President Obama took office two years ago vowing to banish "special interests" from the White House, a watchdog investigation has found that nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed coveted government jobs and advisory posts, won valuable federal contracts for their business interests, or attended elite White House events. Does this validate the conservative charge that Obama's a hypocrite? (Watch an ABC News report about the controversy.)
This is bulletproof evidence of the president's failings: "Obama promised to end business as usual in Washington as part of his 'Hope and Change' platform," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, but these "payoffs" prove he never meant it. One funding "bundler" who raised more than $500,000 for Obama ended up being appointed ambassador to South Africa, and his company "got $13.8 million in Porkulus dollars for broadband projects." That's nothing new in Washington, but it sure destroys Obama's credibility as a reformer.
"Obama donors score big in administration"
Wait, Obama did nothing wrong: If you raise a million dollars for someone's campaign, "you tend to get a phone call returned," says Michael Caplin, who raised money for Obama and was later appointed to the Commission on Presidential Scholars, as quoted by Politico. But the fact that you expressed your political views by backing Obama or any other candidate shouldn't be a strike against you. Anyone who is "truly excellent," donors included, should have the chance to serve.
"Top Barack Obama donors net government jobs"
Either way, it doesn't look good: Maybe Obama really did "believe he would change Washington's ancient deference to cash," says Frank James at NPR, but just fell short. Or maybe he was "more cynical, deliberately telling voters what he knew they wanted to hear even as he knew that he would play the game the way it's always been played." Either way, the parade of donors into his administration "doesn't exactly portray him in the best light."
"Report: Obama's big money raisers get key posts, access, stimulus dollars"