Steven VanRoekel's years of experience at Microsoft and the Federal Communications Commission make him well suited for his new job as White House chief information officer. But VanRoekel, who started his new job on Thursday, was making friends with the Obama administration even before Obama took the White House.
In 2009 VanRoekel contributed $50,000 to Obama's Inauguration celebration. Obama capped donations at $50,000 and VanRoekel gave the maximum amount, putting him among the top donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
VanRoekel gave Obama's campaign $4,600 in 2008,when he was an executive at Microsoft. In 2009 and 2010 he contributed $7,300 to the Democratic National Committee while working at the FCC, according to Federal Elections Commission disclosures. And in 2006 Washington Women for Choice received $1,000 from VanRoekel.
In congressional races, VanRoekel donated $1,000 to Rep. Michele Bachman's opponent Tarryl Clark last year. He also contributed $1,750 to Rob Miller, who launched a failed challenge to South Carolina GOP Rep. Joe Wilson, in 2010.
The new White House CIO is not to be confused with Steven VanRoekel of Mankato, Minnesota, who has contributed to former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and Randy Lee Demmer, according to FEC numbers.
The Minnesota VanRoekel is listed on his Twitter profile as CEO of the farm feed company Ridley, Inc., and director of the American Feed Industry Association.