The group of private-sector business leaders advising President Obama on how to create jobs and grow the economy is full of deep-pocket Democratic donors and high-profile financiers of Obama’s re-election campaign, a review of Federal Election Commission data shows.
At least 10 members of the Obama-appointed Council on Jobs and Competitiveness gave the legal maximum contribution — $4,600 — to help get Obama elected in 2008, and they continue to write checks for the president in 2012. Several also serve as Obama campaign bundlers, top fundraisers who collect millions of dollars from their networks of well-to-do colleagues and friends to aid his re-election bid.
The bundlers — Mark Gallogy, co-founder of investment firm Centerbridge Partners, Penny Prtizker, president and CEO of Pritzker Realty Group, and Robert Wolf, chairman of UBS Americas — have raised as much as $2.7 million for Obama in 2008 and 2012 combined, according to estimates provided by the Obama campaign.
Pritzker served as the Obama presidential campaign’s national finance chairwoman in 2008 and co-chair of the Obama inaugural committee in 2009. Wolf is an occasional Obama golf partner and most recently played golf with the president during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.
Other members of the council who have personally padded Obama’s election coffers include Xerox Corporation CEO Ursula Burns, TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson, MIT/Harvard Broad Institute director Eric Lander, Citigroup chairman Richard Parsons, Hooven-Dayton Corp. CEO Christopher Che, UC Berkeley professor Laura D’Andrea Tyson, attorney and Amazon.com/Google board member John Doerr, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Sandberg hosted an exclusive, star-studded fundraiser for the Obama Victory Fund at her Palo Alto, Calif., home Sept. 25 that netted at least $2.5 million for the 2012 campaign. The money is split between the Obama Campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The companies and organizations represented on the council have also been prolific donors to Democrats and Obama through their political action committees, or PACs.
UC Berkeley employees contributed $1.6 million combined to Obama in 2008, more than from any other organization, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. UBS, Citigroup and GE, whose chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt leads Obama’s jobs council, were the source of more than $1.7 million combined.
Comcast Corp., headed by CEO Brian Roberts who sits on the council, is the top corporate source of campaign cash for Obama’s 2012 bid.
Two high-profile unions — the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and AFL-CIO — also played a key role in helping to elect Democrats and Obama in 2008, spending more than $900,000 on political communications and advertisements, according to CRP. The leaders of both groups, Joseph Hansen and Richard Trumka, also sit on Obama’s council.