What do President Obama’s nominees this week for Commerce Secretary, U.S. Trade Representative, and FCC Chairman all have in common? They each raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s presidential campaigns.
Commerce nominee Penny Pritzker, USTR choice Michael Froman and FCC appointee Thomas Wheeler were all major league “bundlers” for Obama’s presidential campaigns, putting them among an elite corps of Obama rainmakers who amassed checks from others and dropped them into the Obama campaign’s coffers.
Obama ran for president in 2007 and 2008 as a new kind of candidate who was above politics as usual and would dilute the influence of special interests. As president, he has presented himself as a man who stands against the corrupting influence of money in politics. But his appointments this week are at least contrary to the image he has sought to project, and possibly something worse.
Pritzker and Wheeler each were members of the uber-elite club that collected at least $500,000 for the 2012 campaign of the man they may soon call “boss.,” according to Opensecret.org. Froman drummed up between $200,000 and $500,000 in 2008 and has worked at the White House since 2009.
Pritzker, a Chicagoan, and her husband Bryan Taubert are particularly significant longtime Obama backers, having written $55,600 in personal checks to Obama since 2000. Pritzker threw in another $250,000 in cash to help pay for the president’s 2013 inaugural.
Froman and his wife have contributed $7,700 to Obama since 2000. Wheeler has personally donated $4,400 to Obama since just 2007.