Obama's La Raza appointments started early and often. One of Obama's first appointments as president was Cecilia Munoz, a former senior vice president at NCLR. She describes anti-illegal immigration groups as "hate groups" that promote "bigotry." She has also suggested that crossing the border illegally is "a civil offense, not a criminal one." President Obama's first Supreme Court appointment was Sonia Sotomayor, a member of the NCLR.
Virtually the entire Obama administration visited the 2009 NCLR annual conference: Obama's brain, Valerie Jarrett; Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis (winner of the 2008 NCLR Capital Award); Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. At that conference, the Obama honchos were joined by Bank of America President Ken Lewis -- Bank of America has been a longtime supporter of NCLR, setting up a credit line to aid illegal immigrants. Other banking giants are in bed with NCLR, too. Wachovia, for example, routinely gave mortgages to illegal immigrants, which helped cement Wachovia's financial collapse, leading to its acquisition by Wells Fargo.
When the economy collapsed, NCLR President Janet Murguia cynically turned on the bankers she had cultivated, disowning the very loans she'd pushed. "Latino … families are being pushed into high-cost and risky home loans," she said. "The result is that more of our families are falling victims to loans that were not a good fit in the first place." That, of course, prompted the Obama administration to funnel money quickly and furiously into NCLR coffers. The stimulus package put $156,620 directly into NCLR's pocket. Last week, the Committees on Appropriations moved toward directing $1.5 billion in 2010 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations toward education programs benefiting the NCLR, among other organizations.
And in late November, Murguia penned a personal letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking her to funnel $400 million allotted under the stimulus package toward "racial and ethnic minorities." Sebelius responded warmly, stating that she understood the importance of "priority patient populations, including racial and ethnic minorities."
The Obama administration's consistent attempt to buy off a radical and in some cases quasi-criminal group demonstrates his continued adherence to the first rule of Chicago politics: Keep your friends close using taxpayer cash. He intends to do just that.