A birther concedes, the prez battles secret money, and the right guy gets the job

    Two years ago, I wrote a story about how the Obama administration was so impressed with a Pennsylvania program to bring supermarkets and fresh food to poor neighborhoods that they invited the principals to the White House for a long session with domestic policy advisers.

    The White House wanted to know how to replicate the effort in other states. I remember thinking then that they probably can’t, because what made the Fresh Food Financing Initiative effective wasn’t the funding or the rules. It was the skill and collaboration among some high quality pubic and private leaders that made it work.

    One of the most critical was Jeremy Nowak at the Reinvestment Fund, a non-profit that combines business savvy with the right social values to help bring jobs and development to struggling communities.

    A lot of reporters and civic leaders know Nowak as somebody who understands what’s going on, and knows how move things in the right direction.

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    So I was delighted to learn yesterday he’s been chosen to head the William Penn Foundation, which funds projects throughout the Delaware Valley.

    Full disclosure: William Penn is a supporter of WHYY projects. I don’t even know the details, but you could read this post as buttering up a funding source. I’m really just high five-ing a guy who’s done the right thing for the right reasons for a long time.


    I noted with interest that President Obama is looking into an executive order aimed at curbing the influence of anonymous money in federal elections by requiring companies seeking government contracts to disclose their political contributions.

    You may remember that tens of millions in anonymous contributions funded ads in the 2010 Congressional races.

    When Philly Mayor Michael Nutter was in City Council, he successfully sponsored several bills which required businesses competing for certain city contracts to limit the size of their political contributions and disclose information about lobbyists they employed.

    Politico’s Kenneth Vogel notes that besides Obama’s draft executive order on companies seeking government contracts, other federal agencies are taking steps to promote more transparency in political donations. Read his story here.


    Also, this just in: Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann says the Obama birther issue is over, sort of, in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

    “I have the president’s certificate right here,” the Good Morning America host told Bachmann. “It’s certified, it’s got a certification number. It’s got the registrar of the state signed. It’s got a seal on it. And it says ‘this copy serves as prima facie evidence of the fact of birth in any court proceeding.'”

    Bachmann replied, “Well, then that should settle it.”

    Read or watch the full exchange here.

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