The Washington Post today is debunking the belief that Barack Obama's campaign is funded by small owners in a grassroots effort. In actuality half his money has come from people donating more than $200 and 79 bundlers have raised at least $200,000 apiece. Five of them are billionaires. These 79 have recruited 27,000 contributors who gave Obama the maximum allowable amount. Among them are 21 Wall Street executives and "power brokers" from Fortune 500 companies according to The Post.
This is a far cry from the image created by campaign press releases describing the Obama phenomenon as grassroots when it also is heavily grasstops. While the Illinois Senator decries the influence of lobbyists and special interests The Post notes this:
"Among the group are businessmen such as Kenneth Griffin, a famously private 39-year-old billionaire who threw his support behind Obama's presidential campaign just as he hired a team of lobbyists to urge Congress to preserve a lucrative tax loophole.
A year ago, Griffin invited Obama to speak to employees of his Chicago hedge fund, Citadel Investment Group, and in subsequent months, employees and their families gave the candidate nearly $200,000. Griffin had previously backed Republicans, including Obama's initial U.S. Senate opponent.
Obama resisted Citadel's lobbying push, but a hedge fund executive who knows Griffin said he suspects Griffin's continued support owes to more than a desire to sway the senator on the tax issue. "Ken's a smart guy, and I guess he's done the math and decided that Barack is the best candidate," said Daniel Loeb, the chief executive of Third Point Management in New York."
They also reveal the presence of a slots casino developer and a Director of General Dynamics, a major defense contractor and war profiteer. Bundlers have an inordinate effect on campaigns and Administrations. They generally want something or expect something from a victorious candidate. Over 100 of George W. Bush's bundlers either got a job in his administration or an appointment (23 of them ambassadorships).
This raises questions about Obama's rhetoric and lends credence to those who claim he is all rhetoric and no substance. It also reminds me of the instances where it has been shown he said one thing on the stump while seemingly believing something else. The case of homophobe Donnie McClurkin immediately comes to mind. While talking a good game on gay and lesbian issues Barack Obama still used this so called "ex gay" to stand on the stage at an Obama fund raiser and spew his homophobic rhetoric. Obama knew McClurkin would be controversial, was warned not to use him but chose to do so anyway. I suppose that's why 71 GLBT leaders across Pennsylvania have endorsed Hillary and released this statement yesterday:
"The LGBT community deserves a President who talks to our community and to the issues we care about," said Kevin Lee, Lansdowne Borough Councilman. "Hillary Clinton has a proven track record of doing that. As a Senator, Hillary Clinton worked with LGBT groups to develop the smart strategy that defeated the Federal Marriage Amendment and championed the Early Treatment for HIV Act. As a candidate, she continues to talk to the community. That matters to me, and it matters in this election."
“I am proud to be from Pennsylvania, I'm proud to be a Democrat, and I'm proud to support Hillary Clinton. She has always been a supporter of our community and even more importantly she is someone who has the experience, heart and intelligence that would make her someone I would be proud to have as President of the United States.," said Carson Kressley, actor, fashion expert, and host of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
Hillary has been a longtime ally of the LGBT community. She fought against the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) both times and has worked on legislation that would promote equality for LGBT Americans. As President, Hillary will work to ensure that gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships have the same legal rights and responsibilities as all Americans. She will also work to end discrimination in adoption laws, sign hate crimes legislation and ENDA into law, and put an end to the failed policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
“I am proud to receive the support of such a dynamic group of leaders in the Pennsylvania LGBT community,” said Clinton. “LGBT Americans have been a part of this campaign from the start and I look forward to continuing to work with the community in the Keystone state to ensure we end the divisive politics of the current administration. As President, I will do just that and will continue fighting for equality for all Americans."