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Obama fundraiser gets Energy Department post
Question of the Day
Dozens of major fundraisers for President Obama’s re-election campaign have been appointed to plum posts on advisory boards and humanities commissions and at embassies.
The practice is not new to Mr. Obama, but it’s generally viewed as unsavory.
Not to Steve Westly, a financier who has raised between $200,000 and $500,000 for Mr. Obama this election season.
In correspondence with the Energy Department as they were vetting him for a post on an advisory board to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, he was upfront about his political connections and money-raiser role.
“Please forgive the delay on this, but the Administration has asked me to co-host events for Valeria [sic] Jarrett (last Thursday) and Jim Messina and Secretary Chu (both of which are tomorrow) so things have been a bit busy on this end. The good news is that we will have good turn-outs for all events!”
The emails were unearthed by the Republican National Committee’s research department — but not before much of the information was redacted, including information about what appears to be a second honorary post given to Mr. Westly.
Mr. Westly is a longtime Democratic fundraiser who gathered $100,000 for the 2004 presidential bid of Sen. John Kerry and at least a half-million dollars for Mr. Obama in 2008, according to the campaigns.
Mr. Obama is slated to release an updated list of his fundraisers’ activities on Friday.
Before Republicans gloat at Mr. Obama rewarding a “bundler,” as the fundraisers are known, with a position, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has vulnerabilities on the issue.
Mr. Romney has departed from convention by refusing to identify his bundlers, with the exception of those who are lobbyists, which regulations require disclosing.
Fifteen federal lobbyists are among Mr. Romney’s bundlers, most of them just recently enlisting, and those 15 people raised $2.1 million in the three-month period ending with June, disclosures showed this week.
Bill Graves, a former governor now lobbying for truckers, singlehandedly raised nearly $600,000.
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About the Author
Luke Rosiak is a projects reporter on The Washington Times’ investigative team. He formerly covered lobbying and campaign finance for two watchdog groups as well as transportation for The Washington Post. Luke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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