Plouffe’s Payday

Mickey Kaus | Columnist

Plouffe’s Payday: Doesn’t Obama aide David Plouffe’s $100,000 speaking gig stink, even without the Iran connection of the firm that paid him? a) It’s just too much money.** I’ve seen Plouffe talk. He’s a smart guy. But he’s not a $100,000 speaker, or even a $30,000 speaker. He’s not Colin Powell, or Bill Clinton, or Beyonce. What did he think his benefactors–a telecommunications firm called MTN Group–thought they were getting for their 100Gs? Just a short talk (on “digital communications”)? There is some kind of bonus there for Plouffe. What was it for?; b) Plouffe was incoming, not outgoing–he joined the White House staff a few weeks later. It’s hard to believe MTN didn’t entertain the idea that it was making a strategic investment in a powerful new U.S. official; c) Maybe Plouffe  had no intention of doing anything for MTN, and if they were stupid enough to pay him that much money for a generic talk … . In other words, he was shamelessly exploiting them. That might be something to laugh about at $10,000 or $20,000. It’s kind of disgusting at $100,000. ….

P.S.: Why do I suspect that Plouffe (like Colin Powell) is a good source–and that the reporters who use him will protect him if they can?  … Also, journalists are on the same buckraking gravy train as Plouffe was, of course. *** If there are moralistic limits on Plouffe, maybe there will also be limits on Mike Allen, Christiane Amanpour and Ann Compton. (I only got as far as the “C”s in the alphabetical listing of Washington Speakers Bureau clients.)  Best not to make a fuss and draw attention to this little secret. It’s the only way D.C. journalists can keep up with D.C. lawyers. …


**–Reminds me of the case of Barry Munitz, who resigned as chief executive of the rich Getty Trust after it came out that he was driving a Porsche Cayenne paid for by the Getty. If Munitz had ordered up a VW Touareg–essentially the same car with less power–nobody would have batted an eye. But a Porsche was just too much–not as a legal matter, but as a PR matter.  Plouffe’s payday is also a PR issue. …

***–I would love to get on this train myself.

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