Sunrise (3/11/11)

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POTENTIAL COMMERCE PICKS HAVE LOBBYING, CONTRIBUTION PAST WITH ADMIN

Sunlight: “The Obama administration is considering two former corporate CEOs–Google’s Eric Schmidt and Pfizer’s Jeff Kindler–to fill the soon-to-be empty cabinet post of Commerce Secretary, according to Bloomberg. Both have connections to the Obama administration closely that involve both lobbying and campaign contributions. … It’s arguable that no company was as close to the Obama administration in its first two years as Google was under the direction of CEO Eric Schmidt. Google was the third highest generator of campaign contributions to Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign among corporations—trailing only Goldman Sachs and Microsoft—with $803,436 from employees and the company’s political action committee. Schmidt donated $25,000 to the Obama Inaugural Committee. … Kindler played an instrumental role in the passage of the keystone of the Obama first term, health care reform. As CEO of Pfizer, the nation’s largest pharmaceutical company, Kindler, along with PhRMA chief Billy Tauzin, directed the industry into supporting health care reform, so long as they were protected from long-time Democratic policy priorities targeting the industry.”

REVOLVING DOOR WATCH

Roll Call: “Former Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) has landed a new gig in the private sector. The former Armed Services chairman is joining the Kansas City law and lobbying firm Husch Blackwell on Tuesday. … The firm said Skelton will advise its attorneys and clients on legal and public policy issues, with a particular focus on defense, small business and international trade. He will primarily work out of the firm’s D.C. office.”

SENATOR TO REPAY TAXPAYERS FOR PRIVATE JET TRAVEL

McClatchy: “Sen. Claire McCaskill sent the U.S. Treasury a personal check Wednesday for nearly $89,000 to cover the costs of chartered flights on a plane that she co-owns and has used for Senate business. … McCaskill, who chartered the plane at least 89 times since 2007, billed the flights to her Senate office. She co-owns the plane with her husband and other investors. … McCaskill was unavailable for comment, but Maria Speiser, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Democrat, said the senator and the other owners made no profit on the flights. She also said that McCaskill had not broken any laws or Senate rules, but was repaying the money to dispel any misperceptions.”

FUNDRAISING PARTIES TODAY

–Rep. Lynn Jenkins raises money at the Sprint Center during the Big 12 basketball tourney; Rep. Tom Price raises money at Braves spring training; and more parties today here.

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