Politico's Ben Smith and Byron Tau take a look at some of President Obama's "bundlers," those who raise a lot of campaign cash for him. A lot of them are in industries that are either highly regulated or subsidized:
Steve Westly, a major investor in the electric car company Tesla, bundled up to $200,000 for the president this cycle — while his company received a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy.
Three smaller loans and grants went to three other companies that Westly is involved in. Obama has since appointed him to a special energy panel. Westly bundled up to $500,000 in 2008 as well and hosted the president at his house during a 2010 Democratic fundraiser.
The article also mentions "David Cohen, the executive vice president of the cable and media giant Comcast – which recently won regulatory approval for its merger with NBC/Universal," "David Hill, the vice president and associate general counsel for telecommunications giant Verizon," "Sally Susman, Executive Vice President for the pharmaceutical powerhouse Pfizer," and reports that "bundler Wade Randlett's green energy startup NextFuels bundled up to half a million for the president's reelection effort, while working with the federal government on fuel issues."
People in highly regulated industries are covered by the First Amendment just like everyone else. But the Politico article notes that President Obama is accepting this kind of help while also maintaining a holier-than-thou public stance that he won't accept campaign contributions from either political action committees or registered lobbyists. Ms. Susman's Pfizer bio notes that she "chairs Pfizer's Political Action Committee." Are we supposed to feel better about Obama because he doesn't accept money from Pfizer's political action committee, but does accept money raised by the chair of the committee?