A senior aide to President Obama, David Plouffe, took $100,000 in speaking fees in 2010 from an affiliate of a firm that does business with Iran’s government, The Washington Post reported.
Plouffe spoke in December of 2010 at a subsidiary of MTN Group, a telecommunications firm based in South Africa. The company paid Plouffe for two speeches, totaling $100,000. Plouffe joined the White House staff about a month later.
At the time of Plouffe’s speeches, MTN had been in a “widely reported partnership for five years with a state-owned Iranian telecommunications firm,” according to The Post.
Plouffe declined to comment to The Post, but an administration spokesman told the newspaper that the article was unfair.
“He gave two speeches on mobile technology and digital communications and had no separate meetings with the company’s leadership,” Eric Schultz, the 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.”