The defense contractor Northrop Grumman gave money to the left-leaning Center for American Progress, founded by John D. Podesta, as the nonprofit group at times bemoaned what it called the harmful impact of major reductions in Pentagon spending.
Pacific Gas and Electric sent in a donation as Mr. Podesta championed government incentives to promote solar energy and other renewable sources that the California company buys more of than nearly any other utility.
The pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly was also a donor because of what it said was the Center for American Progress’s advocacy for patients’ rights — and just as the debate heated up in Washington over potential cuts to the Medicare program that covers Lilly’s most profitable drugs.
Mr. Podesta, named a senior adviser to President Obama, is not currently a lobbyist and therefore does not have to worry about the Obama administration’s self-imposed ban on hiring lobbyists to administration jobs. But he will nonetheless arrive at the White House after having run an organization that has taken millions of dollars in corporate donations in recent years and has its own team of lobbyists who have pushed an agenda that sometimes echoes the interests of these corporate supporters.
Of course, it ought to go without saying that you wouldn’t have gotten this information from the Most Transparent Administration in the History of Ever. It also ought to go without saying that most of those who voted for Change We Can Allegedly Believe In won’t reconsider their support, even as the Obama administration continues to turn into the very antithesis of what its supporters hoped that it would be. In any event, if John Podesta can get a job in this administration, and if the Center for American Progress can continue to be taken seriously by pundits and would-be wonks, even as we learn that its policy stances are richly rewarded with cold hard cash, then it is high time to conclude that in 2012, Mitt Romney got a bum rap from the very purer-than-thou detractors who have been exposed by this report.