Clinton Pollster Mark Penn Bags $6 Million from Stimulus, Blogs Erupt

A big payout to a Democratic ally angers the right

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Anger is bubbling over about a report that Hillary Clinton's pollster, Mark Penn, received $5.97 million from the $787 billion federal stimulus. The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports that the money went to Burson-Marsteller, Penn's global public-relations firm, saving three jobs. A snapshot of the blogospheric outcry:

  • "What a Deal!" exclaims John McCormack at The Weekly Standard: "Less than $2 million per job created-or-saved for Democratic campaign consultants... Beyond the obvious corruption and cronyism issues, one wonders why the stimulus funds are being spent on public relations and polling firms in the first place. Is this a jobs program or are the Democrats just trying to spend barrels of money as fast as they can on worthless projects? Mark Penn certainly has a lot of experience with the latter."
  • So This Is What Obama Meant...  Matt Welch at Reason lifts quotes from Obama's jobs speech yesterday: "I asked Vice President Biden and others to make sure to the extent humanly possible that the investments were sound, the projects worthy, and the execution efficient." Hurling a barb, Welch says "I wonder if by 'worthy' he includes this?"
  • That Isn't Even the Half of It, write the editors at National Review. Acknowledging The Hill's scoop, they list a slew of other stimulus projects they find objectionable, including: "$221,000 for a study on why young men don't like condoms"; "Nearly $1 million in stimulus money being spent to study the division of labor among ants"; and "$5 million to provide geothermal heat for a Tennessee mall that's all but empty."
  • Shame on You Penn, writes Wonkette: "History’s greatest monster, the notorious bottom-feeding nudibranch Mark Penn, has once again triumphed over Goodness and Mercy. Nearly $6 million in stimulus money went to Penn’s PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, in order to 'preserve three jobs,' which is a fancy way of saying 'keep Penn in Cheetos and JUGGS subscriptions through 2012.'"
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