Obama donors get plum jobs, contracts

WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama denounces special interests, but nearly 200 of his donors have secured federal jobs and contracts, an investigation finds.

The figures were reported Wednesday by iWatch, a Web site of the Center for Public Integrity.


One of Obama's top "bundlers," Colorado telecom executive Donald Gips, delivered more than $500,000 from himself and others, and two colleagues reaped at least $150,000 more.

Gips was put in charge of hiring in the White House, placing supporters and fundraisers in many posts.

A few months later, Obama named him ambassador to South Africa, and his firm, Level 3 Communications, got millions of dollars of stimulus contracts for broadband projects.

Gips, who retained stock, said he was "completely unaware" of his old company's contracts.

Many bundlers of the "Class of 2008" are now being asked to gather funds for Obama's re-election campaign, which could cost $1 billion.

The iWatch investigation found 184 of 556 Obama bundlers or their spouses got jobs, a figure rising to nearly 80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000.

Public Citizen found in 2008 that President George W. Bush had appointed about 200 bundlers over eight years. Obama has matched that in little more than two years.


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