Her husband was appointed general counsel of the Department of Transportation and special adviser to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Rivkin once served as general counsel to the Chicago Transit Authority. The bundlers often arrived to see David C. Jacobson, then a special assistant for presidential personnel in the White House.
The Chicago lawyer, himself an Obama bundler, served as the campaign deputy finance director.
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Jacobson, who departed in September to become ambassador to Canada, scheduled about 90 meetings with bundlers, according to an iWatch News analysis. Gips, who served as White House director of presidential personnel before taking the post in South Africa, saw more than a dozen bundlers. Other inner-circle White House officials, such as presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, also a bundler, met with more than 50 bundlers, mostly the heavy hitters.
Obama met with at least two dozen bundlers either privately or with another person, according to the visitor logs. Ambassadorships have been the classic payoff for big bundlers. Light, the NYU expert on presidential transitions, said that in recent years many have sought jobs with deep reach into the federal bureaucracy — and found a receptive ear in the White House. Public Citizen in found that George W. Bush had appointed about bundlers to administration posts over his eight years in office.
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That is roughly the same number Obama has appointed in little more than two years, the iWatch News analysis showed. Some bundlers said in interviews that they called the White House to ask for a position, while others said they were called and asked to serve. But he did ask to be considered and said he met with then-White House Counsel Gregory Craig, also a bundler, to discuss a position at the Justice Department.
The cluster of appointments among top bundlers suggests that the size of the donation may have been a factor at least in getting a foot in the door. Some have since left the administration while others remain in their posts.
He said he was contacted by a White House staffer asking him if he wanted to serve, though he saw plenty of other big donors angling for jobs and positions. But he also believes that many big donors who took positions were well qualified. The appointment of George Washington University law professor Spencer Overton illustrates how the administration has quietly rewarded many top fundraisers.
Overton visited the White House more than 80 times from January through the end of last year for events ranging from small meetings with high-level staffers to social and entertainment events, sometimes with his wife, records show.
He declined to comment. Two others are Thomas J. She is a deputy associate attorney general. Spinner also has been a frequent White House guest, listed more than 40 times for events ranging from bowling to holiday receptions. Several other bundlers appointed to federal government jobs also have been frequent White House visitors. He served as chief counsel at the FCC in the s. Lake, chief of the media bureau. FCC chair Genachowski has turned up so often at Pennsylvania Avenue that Republicans in Congress in March demanded an accounting of who he has met with and what was discussed.
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Some of the biggest fundraisers end up serving in foreign capitals. About a third of Obama's ambassadors have been political appointments as opposed to career foreign service officers—about the same as recent presidents. However, Obama has nominated 24 bundlers to ambassadorships to date. Of those, 14 each raised at least a half million dollars.
The Obama record has disappointed the American Foreign Service Association, which believes these appointments should go mostly to career diplomats. How many political appointees fit the bill is debatable. Gips, for instance, testified during his Senate confirmation hearing of his extensive private sector and government experience.
The White House pointed out that some ambassadorships went to non-civil service people who did not bundle for Obama but were uniquely qualified for the posts. One example is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican. In , Gips left government work, where he had supervised wireless spectrum issues for the FCC and served as Vice President Al Gore's chief domestic policy adviser. At a fundraiser, he met Obama, who was then running in Illinois for the U. At the White House, Gips was a powerful force to decide who got coveted jobs. Obama appointed Level 3 executive Crowe in October to chair the presidential advisory committee on telecommunications and wireless issues.
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Oklahoma billionaire investor George Kaiser is one. He had multiple visits to the White House in the months before he was awarded the contract. Kaiser has not responded to interview requests from iWatch News. Some bundlers limit their role in the administration to serving on commissions to support their pet causes and hobnob with celebrities.
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Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Four of the nine members of the U. A former Yale classmate of Bush and fellow owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, Bernstein switched allegiances to bundle for the Obama campaign. Others have served on advisory groups which make recommendations to the president on critical matters ranging from the economic stimulus to policies to spur job growth.
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