Obama campaign manager David Ploufe received $50,000 for a speech Monday in the repressive American ally Azerbaijan, a lucrative gig arranged by lobbyists. Subsequently, Ploufe has announced he is donating the lucre to "pro-democracy groups", apparently embarrassed to be seen receiving such unseemly riches so soon after presenting a campaign based on idealism to the American people.
Glenn Simpson of the Wall Street Journal reports:
President Barack Obama's former campaign manager intends to give away the fee he received from a paid private speech he made Monday in the oil-rich but authoritarian nation of Azerbaijan.
The speech was arranged by lobbyists working with a group that has ties to the Azerbaijan government, according to people familiar with the matter. But a close associate of David Plouffe said he only learned of their involvement after he had already embarked for the Caspian Sea nation.
Mr. Plouffe now intends to donate his speaking fee, which the associate said is in the range of $50,000, to groups that advocate democratization in the turbulent post-Soviet states of the region around the Caspian and Caucasus mountain range. Mr. Plouffe also plans to share the contents of the speech with opposition groups.
Imagine of Karl Rove had jetted off to a repressive regime shortly after George W. Bush was inaugurated. Somehow I don't expect Ploufe's cashing in to generate that much comment. I guess that's what he meant by "change" during the campaign.
Hat tip: Jeanette Colville