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Top Fundraisers Getting Personal Access to Obama

President Obama has been granting highly personal access to major fundraisers, using golf – which in the past has been almost exclusively a recreational pursuit – to provide his money men with hours of presidential face time.

Obama’s self-created political persona is that of a man above traditional politics seeking to eradicate the influence of money. But the president is at least creating the appearance of access buying by granting top donors large slices of his valuable time.

Obama played golf on separate occasions in Martha’s Vineyard this month with two major “bundlers” – those who solicit donations from others – for his 2012 campaign. One, businessman Robert Wolf, assembled more than $500,000 from donors. Another, attorney Eunu Chun, was brought into Obama’s foursome after the round had already begun, resulting in Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest being booted off the course to make way for the guest of honor.

Last February, during Obama’s long-weekend golf excursion to Florida that featured a round with Tiger Woods, the president brought another half-million-plus bundler onto the links with him – Houston attorney Tony Chase.

Even more exclusive was the access granted DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who raised millions for the president during the 2012 election cycle, including bundling efforts and $3 million donated to the pro-Obama PAC Priorities USA Action. Katzenberg and Obama sat down to a private dinner during an Obama visit earlier this month to Los Angeles. The Associated Press ranked Katzenberg third on the list of Obama’s “Top five fundraisers.”

Meanwhile, Obama has been appointing big time fundraisers and supporters to ambassadorships at a rate that, according to The Hill, exceeds even that of his two most recent predecessors. Among these are extraordinarily important postings, such as the ambassadorship to Great Britain, which went to megabundler Matthew Barzun, and the Japan post, handed to key Obama backer Caroline Kennedy.

Also, Obama tapped Penny Pritzker, another top Obama bundler who has written checks to his campaigns for more than a decade, to be Commerce Secretary, and bundlers Michael Froman to serve as U.S. Trade Reprsentative and Thomas Wheeler to head the FCC .

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21 Responses to Top Fundraisers Getting Personal Access to Obama

  1. Well, well, this is big time corruption, isn´t it ? Everything is probably for sale with this government. Syria intervention – also for sale perhaps ?

  2. I have no problem with him hanging out with his top donors as I’m sure other presidents have done so before him. Same with nominating them for ambassadorships. But, I’m mighty uncomfortable with such folks heading posts such as those held by Pritzker, Wheeler and Froman.

    • Exactly true! Ambassadorships to Sweden and Luxembourg has always been up for grabs. Same with golf or whatever.

      But making them heads of cabinet positions or gov’t agencies that really shouldn’t exist.
      Or staff members becoming lobbyists and then gaining back-access..

      This administration stands above the Constitution as that document has no meaning to it. It doesn’t even pretend to try to get around it. It just does what it wants.

      • “Or staff members becoming lobbyists and then gaining back-access.”

        That, too, has been happening a long time, and is one of the things FCMABBHO said he would stop.

    • I don’t have a problem with it either, but it’s the hypocrisy using wealth against political opponents as though it were criminal and out of touch with the middle class.

      Most recently, Romney’s Rich and doesn’t care about you ! Which was b.s. since those of us in the know do know that he donated his inheritance to charity and earned his wealth on his own. Also he took no salary while working in public service (Gov. and the Olympics).

      So yeah, when I see Obama participating in Pay for Play with his 1% friends, it makes me sick.

      • Denise, I didn’t mean that your source was inaccurate about Assad being in Iran, but I think the ‘fleeing’ part was wrong. He was there to confer with the Iranians and maybe he has left his wife and children there, but I don’t think Assad has any intentions of abandoning his rule of Syria. He probably feels a strength of position right now with Russia, China, and Iran behind him and the Arab League not wanting an attack on Syria.

  3. He certainly wouldn’t invite the likes of me or anyone who comments here to spend a few hours, face to face, on the golf course, now would he. Aside from our general opinion of MrObama’s stewardship of his office, we can’t provide money for his beloved OFA, or even to make him a much richer man when he leaves office.

    Spending an afternoon with wealthy men who support him financially and politically is not unlike what other Presidents or even other elected officials have done and continue to do every week.
    Appointing friends and donors to ambassadorships is a time-honored tradition and exposes the truth that the position is just a perk or a payback for favors given that have nothing to do with diplomacy.

    What’s curious about these new golfing partners, is that for five years he only spent time with trusted junior aides on the golf course. This break with past tradition means it’s time to pay the piper, or MrO wants something so big from these financial giants that only a personal face-time will make it happen.

    • He’s got to line up his next gig. Since the evil republicans won’t let him stay in office forever, he’s probably looking for lucrative board positions. As an investor, if he was appointed to a board, I’d dump that company in a heartbeat.

    • Speaking of RevJackson’s favorite son: there’s got to be more to the story of his prosecution than misusing campaign funds for his personal benefit. At worse, he should have been proscecuted for failing to claim those funds as income, a tax evasion charge.
      Other politicians have used or abused campaign donations for personal use, butt as long as they claim these monies as gifts on their personal income tax returns there’s no crime. The donors might consider it a “crime” that their generous support was used to buy Cuban cigars or fabulous collector’s items, but it’s legal.

      The question is what did he plead-down from, was the real crime so horrible he’d rather plead guilty to the misuse of funds.

      • Good question, srdem. The Jackson family is intimately intertwined with the Obama family, especially Michelle Obama. She is the godmother of the Jackson sister’s child. The foul stench of the Chicago machine follows Obama wherever he goes. It sounds like Jackson Jr is also receiving hush money in the form of disability checks amounting to $8700/mo. for a ‘bi-polar’ disease that no one was aware of prior to his indictment – not even his father. Unfortunately, his medical records are sealed forever.

        • The disability retirement was part of Jesse Junior’s negotiations with Bawling Boehner to resign from the congressional seat he had just won in a landslide. That’s the worst part of this whole sordid tale. While Jesse Jackson, Jr. was under investigation for trying to buy Obama’s Senate seat and spending campaign funds to support his concubine, he was MIA from Congress for months before the 2012 election. Yet, he still handily won reelection without attending one single campaign event. What a sad reflection on his constituency, who keep electing these scum bags because they happen to share the same pigmentation.

      • If you remember, it was insinuated that Jesse Jackson, Jr. was one of several who were negotiating with then governor Blagojevich to buy Obama’s empty Senate seat. The highly touted (sarc) US Attorney Fitzgerald did not prosecute any of those dealing with Blagojevich, only the latter. (BTW, it was thought that Obama and ValJar wanted that seat for her.)

        My humble opinion is that Fitzgerald was not allowed to cause problems and embarrassment for the newly elected first black President. Jackson Jr. also had many “lesser” legal problems so Preezy Revenge let a little time go by before telling the Feds to go after him.