Center for American Profit

“That’s an interesting question”

February 17, 2012

The Center for American Progress (CAP) held a public discussion Thursday with former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and former Obama administration auto czar Steve Rattner on the topic of American infrastructure. CAP chairman John Podesta moderated the event at CAP’s office in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Free Beacon asked Podesta after the discussion whether any CAP donors stand to profit from the proposals put forward in "Meeting the Infrastructure Imperative: An Affordable Plan to Put Americans Back To Work Rebuilding Our Nation’s Infrastructure," prepared by CAP senior fellow Donna Cooper.

The Free Beacon also asked whether the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that does not reveal its donors, would be willing to demonstrate greater transparency in its fundraising efforts.

Podesta said, "I don’t know. That’s an interesting question."

The Free Beacon attempted to discern exactly which question Podesta found interesting, but the former White House chief of staff and co-founder of the Podesta Group, one of D.C.’s largest lobbying firms, would not comment further.

The 94-page CAP report calls for the federal government to spend approximately $50 billion more to bring U.S. roads and bridges up to a state of good repair (p. 35) and for the government to make increased private-sector investments in transportation construction and repair projects, among numerous other spending recommendations.

One potential beneficiary is Los Angeles mogul Steve Bing, a major donor to progressive causes and long rumored to be a supporter of CAP—a rumor that CAP has pointedly declined to deny—owns Shangri-la Construction L.P., a general contractor incorporated in Delaware that has been involved in numerous infrastructure projects in California.

In December 2010 Steve Rattner paid a $10 million settlement to the state of New York for his involvement in a pay-to-play scandal concerning the state pension fund.

CAP did not immediately return a call for comment.