The decision by the White House to put the presidential spotlight on his company underscores how well many top campaign donors have fared in Obama’s administration, despite the president’s early pledge to temper the influence of wealthy interests on the political system.
Since 2008, Obama has appointed at least three dozen big check writers and fundraisers to coveted ambassadorships in spots such as the United Kingdom, France and Italy. Earlier this year, Obama gave the commerce secretary nod to Chicago hotel heiress Penny Pritzker, who served as national finance chairwoman of his first White House bid and raised more than $500,000 for his reelection.
Obama’s stop at DreamWorks Animation is “payback for somebody who was a very early supporter of his, and somebody with very deep pockets,” said Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that advocates for transparency in government. “What it says is that money is alive and well as a way of buying access in Washington.”