Barack Obama’s newly named Economic Recovery Advisory Board, the real-world Americans being asked to help solve the nation’s financial crisis, includes a union executive who took the Fifth in a federal probe, a billionaire whose failed bank pioneered the subprime mortgage market, and deep-pocket donors who gave or gathered nearly $1.2 million for the president’s campaign.
By Jerry Seper
The Washington Times
In all, 11 of the 16 board members donated or raised money for Democrats in the last election, according to a Washington Times review of campaign finance records. They include the president and chief operating officer of the American arm of UBS Investment Bank, the Swiss-based bank now at the center of a widening tax evasion probe by the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service.
In announcing the board’s creation, Mr. Obama described its members as “distinguished citizens outside the government” who were qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, independence and integrity to “bring a diverse set of perspectives and voices from different parts of the country and different sectors of the economy to bear in the formulation and evaluation of economic policy.”
The board is headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, whose only political contribution last year was $2,300 to Mr. Obama.
“It is distressing to see the president turning to his heavy finance hitters as consultants,” said Craig Holman, legislative director for Public Citizen, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks political fundraising and its influence on government policy.