The Washington Times

Big donors dominate Obama panel
The Washington Times

President Obama’s newly named Economic Recovery Advisory Board, the real-world Americans being asked to help solve the nation’s financial crisis, includes a union executive who took the Fifth in a federal probe, a billionaire whose failed bank pioneered the subprime mortgage market, and deep-pocket donors who gave or gathered nearly $1.2 million for the president’s campaign.

In all, 11 of the 16 board members donated or raised money for Democrats in the last election, according to a Washington Times review of campaign finance records.

In announcing the board’s creation, Mr. Obama described its members as « distinguished citizens outside the government » who were qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, independence and integrity to « bring a diverse set of perspectives and voices from different parts of the country and different sectors of the economy to bear in the formulation and evaluation of economic policy. »

« It is distressing to see the president turning to his heavy finance hitters as consultants, » said Craig Holman, legislative director for Public Citizen, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks political fundraising and its influence on government policy. « These appointments do resemble the type of political practices we’ve seen running Capitol Hill and the federal government for a long time, » he said.