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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Loretta Lynch: Not An Early 2008 Obama Supporter

President Obama's new nominee to be Attorney General, current United States Attorney Loretta Lynch (Eastern District of New York), may be a great lawyer, but she should not be assumed to be a bedrock-strong Obama supporter. Campaign contribution filings suggest she jumped on the Obama bandwagon only moments before it started rolling down the victory parade route. 

Lynch did give $9,200 to Obama in 2008, but all of it was after Obama's nomination was all but literally official. Her general election contributions were also on the eve of the election. 

She gave $2,300 to the "Obama for America" primary account on July 31, 2008 despite the fact that Obama had been the presumptive nominee and was announced by major media organizations to have clinched the nomination on June 3, 2008, with Hillary Clinton conceding and endorsing Obama a few days afterwards. The Democratic nomination became official on August 28, 2008. 

She also gave $2,300, not designated for either the primary or general election, to the Obama Victory Fund on July 22, 2008, and another $2,300 to Obama Victory Fund, also not designated, on November 2, 2008

Lynch gave $2,300 to the "Obama for America" general election account on November 3, 2008, for the general election the following day. The Obama campaign raised more than $657 million through one committee for its 2008 campaign covering both the primary and general election.  In the 2007-08 election cycle, the Federal Election Commission increased the contribution limits so that a contributor could give up to $2,300 to each candidate or candidate committee per election. 

Contrast her tepid after-the-fact support for Obama with her enthusiastic, jump-the-gun support of an inner-city Brooklyn progressive and son of a longtime Brooklyn congressman. Loretta Lynch has given only a few candidate contributions over the years, but Chris Owens, the son of Rep. Major Owens (D-Brooklyn) got contributions from her for his unsuccessful 1989 run for City Council ($250) and for his unsuccessful 2006 run for his father's Congressional seat, a loss which has to be somewhat embarrassing. Owens lost the Democratic primary in both years.  

When Owens ran for his father's House seat, Lynch gave the maximum of $2,100 to each of the primary and general election committees for congressional candidate Chris Owens in the 2005-06 election cycle. Here is the March 2005 contribution of $2,100 to the Owens primary account, and here is her optimistic January 2006 contribution of $2,100 to the Owens general election account, given eight months before the Democratic primary that September. In that primary, Owens ran fourth out of four candidates in a contested primary to replace his father, Rep. Major Owens. The primary and later the general election for the seat was won by Yvette Clarke. 

A mere nine days after the primary loss, the campaign refunded Lynch's general campaign committee contribution in full.

Chris Owens later became a radio talk show host on the Air America Network and was an early Brooklyn, NY backer of Barack Obama's then-nascent presidential campaign.
Lynch also was a way-early supporter of David Dinkins, giving him $300 in February 1989 a good seven months before Dinkins beat then-three-term incumbent Edward I. Koch in a five-way contested Democratic primary for Mayor of New York City. Lynch then gave Democratic nominee Dinkins another $250 in October 1989 weeks before Dinkins eked out a narrow victory over Republican candidate (and former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York) Rudolph Giuliani. (Source: NYC Campaign Finance Board records.)

Unlike Dinkins and certainly unlike Owens, who may have been one of Obama's charter supporters, Lynch did not get on board with Obama until after he had vanquished Hillary Clinton.

Eric Dixon is an investigative and corporate attorney headquartered in New York City. 

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