By Michael Beckel on March 3, 2011 5:37 PM
In late February, President Barack Obama announced 22 new members for his council on jobs and competitiveness, a group he established in January. The new appointees are also linked by a shared experience: donating to Democrats.
Nineteen of these 22 appointees have given a combined $4.2 million to Democratic groups and candidates since 1989, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics.
In contrast, Republicans have reaped just $824,500 from this group. Of the 17 appointees who donated to the GOP, 15 also lined the campaign coffers of Democrats, the Center found.
Obama himself has received a combined $79,050 over the years from half of these appointees. Additionally, one of these business leaders and the wife of another donated a combined $100,000 -- $50,000 a piece -- to Obama's 2009 presidential inaugural committee.
Among them? Penny Pritzker, the Obama presidential campaign's national finance chairwoman, who also served as co-chair of the Obama's inaugural committee, to which she also personally donated. Pritzker is the head of Pritzker Realty and the chairman of the board of TransUnion.
Other business executives named by Obama to fill slots on his jobs and competitiveness council include Citigroup Chairman of the Board Richard Parsons; American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault; Brian Roberts, the chairman and CEO of Comcast and private equity investor Mark Gallogly, whose wife, Elizabeth Strickler, gave $50,000 to Obama's inaugural committee.
The council also includes two high-profile union leaders: United Food and Commercial Workers Union President Joseph Hansen and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Hansen and Trumka were the two least prolific donors, personally donating just $500 and $446, respectively, to federal candidates and committees during the past two decades.
But their organizations have played an influential role in electing Democrats -- through PAC contributions, get out the vote efforts and advertisements. The UFCW and AFL-CIO reported spending more than $900,000 on political communications and advertisements during the 2008 election cycle. The UFCW poured more than $13.1 million into various federal and state-level campaigns, while the AFL-CIO invested more than $6.7 million.
Other appointees were far more generous with their own fortunes.
The Center's research shows that 10 of these appointees have given at least six figures to federal candidates and political groups during the past two decades. One has even given seven figures.
The most prolific of these appointee-donors is John Doerr, an attorney at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers who also serves on the boards of Amazon.com and Google.
Doerr, along with his wife, Ann, has contributed $2 million to federal-level candidates and committees since 1989. During that time, 96 percent of the couple's donations have benefited Democrats. During the 2010 election cycle alone, they donated more than $257,000, and during the 2008 presidential election, they gave Obama the legal maximum of $4,600 a piece.
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