Judicial Watch • Obama’s Distinguished Board Tainted

Obama’s Distinguished Board Tainted

Obama’s Distinguished Board Tainted

MARCH 06, 2009

President Obama’s coveted economic advisory board of “distinguished citizens” features rich donors, a corrupt labor official embroiled in a money laundering scheme during the Clinton Administration and a millionaire whose bank folded after victimizing borrowers with subprime loans. 

With an executive order, the new Economic Recovery Advisory Board was created with great fanfare last month to provide an independent voice on economic issues. Sixteen real-world Americans—qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, independence and integrity—were tapped to serve two-year terms.

It turns out that the majority of the “distinguished citizens” are indeed dignified Democratic Party donors who gave or raised nearly $1.2 million for Obama’s presidential campaign. The information was revealed this week by a Washington newspaper that performed an in-depth analysis of the new board members. 

Among them is Chicago millionaire Penny Pritzker, best known as the “Subprime Queen,” for heading a bank that crashed after issuing too many predatory loans at teaser rates. Obama has repeatedly chastised failing banks for using subprime loans to victimize borrowers.

Another all-star economic board member is Richard Trumka, the famed labor leader who thrice refused to testify before a federal grand jury about his role in a money laundering scheme involving the Democratic Party and the Teamsters president. 

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) secretary-treasurer helped embezzle $150,000 in union funds to the reelection campaign of the Teamster’s president through a liberal advocacy group.  

The case involved $885,000 distributed by the Teamsters to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign in exchange for contributions to the AFL-CIO president’s re-election, an illegal swap. A federal jury eventually convicted Teamsters political director William Hamilton of embezzlement, fraud and perjury for his part in the deal but Trumka was left untouched  

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