Bundlers to the White House: Craig, Jarrett first in line

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We already know that Obama’s transition staff is stacked with campaign donors and fundraisers. And despite the vaunted small-donor base developed by the Obama campaign, big-ticket bundlers are also beginning to filter into the emerging Obama administration, led by Gregory Craig and Valerie Jarrett.

Both Craig, who will be White House counsel, and Jarrett, tapped as a senior adviser, have strong professional credentials. Craig served as a foreign policy advisor to Senator Ted Kennedy and in Madeleine Albright’s State Department. He also has the distinction of having played John McCain during debate prep. Jarrett is a force in Chicago politics and one of Obama’s longest-serving advisers.

It’s worth noting, though, that both Craig and Jarrett offered the Obama campaign more than just trenchant advice. Jarrett raised more than $100,000 as a campaign bundler, according to Public Citizen, a D.C. watchdog group. Craig raised more than $200,000.

Craig was one of the original Obama fans. He started dialing for dollars on Obama’s behalf well before the then-Illinois senator started his presidential run. After seeing Obama speak in 2006, Craig began raising money for the Hope Fund, Obama’s political-action committee, according to Newsweek.

The Center will be keeping an eye on Obama campaign bundlers as we find out who will staff the president-elect’s administration. Call it our own “Barack Obameter.” Now’s the time when we find out whether a campaign based on small donors will actually change the cash-soaked ways of Washington.

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