All in the Family

Liberal donor sits on board of foundation with extensive ties to the White House

Tim Collins /
October 30, 2012

Tim Collins and his family give mightily to liberal organizations and political candidates, but Collins’ connections to the liberal establishment run far deeper than mere monetary donations, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.

Collins is the founder and CEO of Ripplewood Holdings, a "private equity and venture capital firm," according to Bloomberg.

Collins and his family have donated heavily to Priorities USA, the Obama-affiliated Super PAC. His family gave a combined half a million dollars to Priorities USA earlier this month, according to records. He and his wife gave a combined $300,000, while his sons Dane Andrew (listed as Dana A) and Matthew each gave $100,000.

Collins’s donations to liberal causes are not limited to this pro-Obama group, however. He donated $35,000 to ProPublica, according to online documents, as well as $90,800 to Democratic campaigns and committees during the 2012 election cycle, records show.

The latter include $25,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee.

Collins's support has earned him access to the highest levels of the White House. White House visitor records show that Collins met with Valerie Jarrett four times between August 2010 and July 2011. He also was a guest of the President five times, including a meeting at the end of June 2011 when he was the President’s sole guest.

However, Collins’s connections to the Washington liberal establishment extend far beyond personal visits to the White House.

Collins sits on the advisory board of The Hamilton Project, which "Robert Rubin and his allies" launched in 2006 "to think about what a future Democratic administration would do," according to the Huffington Post.

One senator addressed the group at the launch of the Hamilton Project, according to Noam Scheiber's The Escape Artists: Barack Obama.

To speak at the event, Obama missed at least part of a Senate Foreign Relations meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, where they were discussing a nuclear deal between the United States and India, according to a transcript of the Project’s launch.

The Hamilton Project has deep ties to Obama’s White House. Almost the entirety of the Project’s past leadership has served in some capacity in the Obama’s administration.

Peter Orszag, the Hamilton Project’s founding director, was Obama’s first director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Jason Furman, Orszag’s successor at the project, currently serves as principal deputy director of the national economic council and assistant to the president.

The Project’s founder, Robert Rubin, is a consummate Washington insider and Obama adviser. He was Treasury Secretary under President Clinton, and while he does not hold an official economic post in Obama’s administration, he "wields enormous influence in Barack Obama’s Washington," according to Politico.

The New York Times called Obama’s nascent economic team in 2008 a "virtual Rubin constellation."

While Rubin came under fire for his leadership at Citigroup before the financial meltdown, Obama turned to him for advice in September 2008 as the crisis worsened.

Rubin and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner consulted regularly early in Geithner’s term, Politico observed.

Rubin now sits on the Hamilton Project’s advisory council with Collins.

Numerous other liberal government insiders are connected to the Hamilton Project. Obama’s Chief of Staff and former Clinton staffer Jack Lew has sat on its board. Mark T. Gallogly currently sits on the Project’s advisory board and is a member of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Penny Pritzker sits on the board as well; she was Obama’s chief fundraiser for his 2008 campaign and was mentioned as a candidate for Secretary of Commerce, according to CNN. Jason Bordoff is associate director for energy and climate change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and was the Hamilton Project’s policy director from 2006-2009.

The connections run all the way to the top of the Hamilton Project. While many people jumped from the Hamilton Project to the White House, current Project director Michael Greenstone moved in the other direction: From 2009 to 2010, he was Chief Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, before taking his post as director of the Hamilton Project in 2010.

The depth of Collins’s connections to these various individuals is unclear, but his place on the Hamilton Project’s advisory board with many past and present Obama advisers and staffers places him in the middle of the liberal Washington coterie.

Collins could not be reached for comment.