President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager got $100,000 in speaking fees in 2010 from an affiliate of a company doing business with Iran. David Plouffe received the money from a subsidiary of the South African telecommunications company MTN Group just a month before joining the White House staff, The Washington Post
Plouffe made the speeches in Nigeria in December 2010. The MTN Group had a partnership for five years with a state-owned Iranian telecommunications firm. The Post noted there were no legal restrictions on Plouffe being paid to speak to the group’s subsidiary.
“He gave two speeches on mobile technology and digital communications and had no separate meetings with the company’s leadership,” Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, told the Post. “At the time, not even the most zealous watchdog group on this issue had targeted the Iranian business interests of the host’s holding company. Criticism of Mr. Plouffe now for issues and controversies that developed only years later is simply misplaced.”
MTN Group entered the Iranian market in 2005 with a joint venture called Irancell. State Department cables revealed by WikiLeaks allege Irancell was “fully owned” by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Post reported.
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