Opinion: Barack Obama’s economic advisory board has been very good to him


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President-elect Barack Obama’s Transition Economic Advisory Board, who were lined up behind today at the Democrat’s first news conference since his election victory, includes several people who were very helpful to the economics of Obama’s presidential campaign.

In fact, they gave $155,000 directly to Obama’s presidential accounts.


They and employees of their companies accounted for upward of $2 million in donations to the campaign, a Times review of Federal Election Commission records shows.

Some members, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, started out backing Hillary Clinton. Some, including former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, gave modest sums of $2,300. A few, including former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, gave Obama no money.

But several were integral to Obama’s financial campaign.

Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker was national finance chair for Obama’s presidential campaign, helping oversee the record-setting operation which saw Obama raise more than $640 million.

Pritzker, chief executive officer of Classic Residence by Hyatt, also donated $37,300 to Obama’s fundraising accounts.

Here’s a look at some of the others:

  • William Daley, brother of Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, gave $95,000 to Democratic campaigns in 2007 and 2008, including $4,600 to Obama. Employees at Daley’s bank, JPMorgan Chase, donated $495,000 to Obama’s presidential campaign.
  • Eric Schmidt, chairman of Internet giant Google, was among Obama’s most high-profile backers. Google employees donated $727,000, making the Silicon Valley-based firm Obama’s second largest source of corporate employee money.
  • Citigroup Chairman Robert Rubin gave $35,600 to Obama-related committees. Citigroup employees donated $460,000 to Obama’s presidential campaign.
  • Warren Buffett donated $4,600 to Obama and $28,500 to the Democratic National Committee, which helped Obama fund his campaign.
  • Richard Parsons, chairman of Time Warner, has been a major donor to Republicans including President Bush and John McCain. But he also gave $4,600 to Obama in August. Time-Warner employees donated $130,000.

Pritzker, Buffett, Daley, Rubin. Despite McCain’s campaign rhetoric, there’s not a socialist among them.

-- Dan Morain

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