Iran-Linked Firm Paid Top Obama Aide $100K
Subsidiary of telecom firm MTN hired Plouffe for speeches
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2012 3:58 AM CDT
Updated Aug 6, 2012 4:15 AM CDT
Senior adviser David Plouffe smiles on the South Lawn of the White House as he accompanies President Obama to Chicago.    (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – A potential embarrassment for Obama 2012: The guy who ran Obama 2008 was paid $100,000 for two speeches he made to a subsidiary of a telecom firm that does business with the Iranian regime, reports the Washington Post. David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager and now a senior White House adviser, was a private citizen when he gave the speeches to an MTN Group affiliate in late 2010. But the issue is likely to trouble the White House as it seeks to clamp down further on Iran with fresh sanctions, which may affect companies like MTN.

Critics accuse MTN of providing technology used by Iran to clamp down on dissidents, a charge the South African company firmly denies. A White House spokesman says it is unfair to attack Plouffe now because MTN's role in Iran was not an issue when he gave the speeches. "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," the spokesman adds.