Tag Archives: Lobbyist

One day of substitute teaching qualifies union lobbyists for teacher pensions

From the Chicago Tribune. (H/T Marathon Pundit)


Two lobbyists with no prior teaching experience were allowed to count their years as union employees toward a state teacher pension once they served a single day of subbing in 2007, a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation has found.

Steven Preckwinkle, the political director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and fellow union lobbyist David Piccioli were the only people who took advantage of a small window opened by lawmakers a few months earlier.

The legislation enabled union officials to get into the state teachers pension fund and count their previous years as union employees after quickly obtaining teaching certificates and working in a classroom. They just had to do it before the bill was signed into law.

Preckwinkle’s one day of subbing qualified him to become a participant in the state teachers pension fund, allowing him to pick up 16 years of previous union work and nearly five more years since he joined. He’s 59, and at age 60 he’ll be eligible for a state pension based on the four-highest consecutive years of his last 10 years of work.

His paycheck fluctuates as a union lobbyist, but pension records show his earnings in the last school year were at least $245,000. Based on his salary history so far, he could earn a pension of about $108,000 a year, more than double what the average teacher receives.

[…]Over the course of their lifetimes, both men stand to receive more than a million dollars each from a state pension fund that has less than half of the assets it needs to cover promises made to tens of thousands of public school teachers. With billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, which serves public school teachers outside of Chicago, is one of several pension plans that are in debt as state government reels in a fiscal crisis.

This is why we need to rein these unions. Not only do they not provide quality educations for poor students in the inner city, but they are corrupt and wasteful.

If you missed my post on Ohio State Issue 2, then you should read it here.

Obama raised more money from rich bankers than any Republican candidate

From the liberal Washington Post.


Despite frosty relations with the titans of Wall Street, President Obama has still managed to raise far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate, according to new fundraising data.

Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own campaign committee and for the Democratic National Committee, which will aid in his reelection effort.

As a result, Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all the other GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data. The numbers show that Obama retains a persistent reservoir of support among Democratic financiers who have backed him since he was an underdog presidential candidate four years ago.

[…]One top banking executive who raises money for Obama and who requested anonymity to discuss fundraising efforts said reports of disaffection with the president “are exaggerated and overblown.” He said a strong contingent of financiers in New York, Chicago and California remain supportive of Obama and his economic policies, even as some have turned on him.

The Daily Caller explains how Barack Obama has received the most money from Wall Street bankers of all politicians in the last 20 years. (H/T Neil Simpson)

Excerpt: (with links removed)

In fact, the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks lobbyist spending and influence in both parties, found that President Obama has received more money from Bank of America than any other candidate dating back to 1991.An examination of the numbers shows that Obama took in $421,242 in campaign contributions in 2008 from Bank of America’s executives, PACs and employees, which exceeded its prior record contribution of $329,761 to President George W. Bush in 2004.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wall Street firms also contributed more to Obama’s 2008 campaign than they gave to Republican nominee John McCain.

“The securities and investment industry is Obama’s second largest source of bundlers, after lawyers, at least 56 individuals have raised at least $8.9 million for his campaign,” Massie Ritsch wrote in a Sept. 18, 2008 entry on the Center for Responsive Politics’s OpenSecrets blog.

By the end of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, executives and others connected with Wall Street firms, such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, UBS AG, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, poured nearly $15.8 million into his coffers.

[…]Wall Street’s generosity to Obama didn’t end with his 2008 campaign either. Wall Street donors contributed $4.8 million to underwrite Obama’s inauguration, according to a Jan. 15, 2009 Reuters report.So far Wall Street has raised $7.2 million in the current electoral cycle for President Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama’s 2012 Wall Street bundlers include people like Jon Corzine, former Goldman Sachs CEO and former New Jersey governor; Azita Raji, a former investment banker for JP Morgan; and Charles Myers, an executive with the investment bank Evercore Partners.

It should be no surprise to anyone that Barack Obama voted for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout in 2008. He also supported extending the bailout powers of the federal government in 2010. Those are the facts.

Rich Wall Street donors abandoning Democrats

Story here in the leftist Washington Post. (H/T Wes Widner, ECM)


A revolt among big donors on Wall Street is hurting fundraising for the Democrats’ two congressional campaign committees, with contributions from the world’s financial capital down 65 percent from two years ago.

[…]In reviewing the FEC records, The Post analyzed fundraising data for New York City and its suburbs in New Jersey, on Long Island and north of the city — a region that had become an outsized source of Democratic campaign cash. In the 2008 cycle, 28 percent of the two committees’ itemized individual contributions came from the region. Manhattan alone accounted for 20 percent.

In this election cycle, the percentage raised in New York is less than 10 percent of the total.

More than 600 regular donors from the New York area — whose four- and five-figure checks added up to $10 million for the DSCC and DCCC in 2006 and 2008 — have so far abandoned their effort to retain the Democratic majorities.

Take Jamie Dimon, the head of J.P. Morgan Chase, who is known for his close relationship with President Obama.

In 2006 and 2008, he donated $65,000 to the Democratic committees. This election cycle, he has not contributed at all to the DSCC or DCCC. At the end of March, however, he gave $2,000 to the campaign of Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who is seeking to claim Obama’s former Senate seat. A spokeswoman for Dimon noted that he has given to individual Democratic candidates, just not to the campaign committees.

Other prominent Democratic donors who have not given to the Democrats this year include Leon Black, a co-founder of the $53 billion New York-based Apollo Global Management a private-equity firm, and his wife, Debra Black. The couple gave more than $200,000 to Democratic congressional committees over the previous two election cycles but have not given this year, according to the latest disclosure documents. A spokesman for Apollo declined to comment.

Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive and chairman of Goldman Sachs, has not donated to the Democrats, either, after giving $50,000 in the previous two cycles. A company spokesman declined to comment.

The problem has been particularly acute for Senate Democrats, whose previous DSCC chairman, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), had strong connections to Wall Street.

Wow, bet you never knew that big Wall Street bankers were all Democrats, did you?

How green lobbyists shape energy policy in the Obama administration

Story here at the Washington Times. (H/T ECM)


In 2008 and 2009, Mr. Obama told Americans on no fewer than eight occasions to “think about what’s happening in countries like Spain [and] Germany” to see his model for successful “green jobs” policies, and what we should expect here.

Some Spanish academics and experts on that country’s wind- and solar-energy policies and outcomes took Mr. Obama up on his invitation, revealing Spain’s policies to be economic and employment disasters. The political embarrassment to the administration was obvious, with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs asked about the Spanish study at a press conference, and the president hurriedly substituted Denmark for Spain in his stump speech.

Team Obama was not amused, and they decided to do something about it. The crew that campaigned on change pulled out the oldest plan in the book – attack the messenger. The U.S. government’s response to foreign academics, assessing the impact in their own country of that foreign government’s policies, was to come after them in a move that internal e-mails say was unprecedented. They also show it was coordinated with the lobbyists for “Big Wind” and the left-wing Center for American Progress (CAP).

What emerged was an ideological hodgepodge of curious and unsupported claims published under the name of two young non-economist wind advocates. These taxpayer-funded employees offered green dogma in oddly strident terms and, along the way, a senior Obama political appointee may well have misled Congress.

[…]What is clear is that the Department of Energy then worked with Center for American Progress and the industry lobby AWEA to produce an attack that would serve all their interests.

First we had ClimateGate, and now we have WindLobbyGate.

How Democrats convert political contributions into political favors

Story from the left-wing New York Times. (H/T The J-Walk Blog via ECM)


The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that four New Jersey congressmen and its own former commissioner unduly influenced the process that led to its decision last year to approve a patch for injured knees, an approval it is now revisiting.

The agency’s scientific reviewers repeatedly and unanimously over many years decided that the device, known as Menaflex and manufactured by ReGen Biologics Inc., was unsafe because the device often failed, forcing patients to get another operation.

But after receiving what an F.D.A. report described as “extreme,” “unusual” and persistent pressure from four Democrats from New Jersey – Senators Robert Menendez and Frank R. Lautenberg and Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. and Steven R. Rothman – agency managers overruled the scientists and approved the device for sale in December.

All four legislators made their inquiries within a few months of receiving significant campaign contributions from ReGen, which is based in New Jersey, but all said they had acted appropriately and were not influenced by the money. Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, the former drug agency’s commissioner, said he had acted properly.

The only way to get money out of politics is to de-regulate so that government has no influence in the free market. If government doesn’t influence the free market, then businesses would have no reason to give contributions to politicians at all. Republicans are the party of limited government and small businesses, and Democrats are the party of ACORN, unions, lawyers, and Planned Parenthood.