Rumors are swirling about President Barack Obama’s possible appointment of ex–San Diego schools chief and former U.S. attorney Alan Bersin to head U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a major unit of the Homeland Security Department. But if it happens, the move may cause Senate Republicans to cast a hostile spotlight on the contributions to the Obama campaign made by Bersin and members of his extended family.
Records show that on July 16 of last year, Bersin gave $28,500 to the Democratic White House Victory Fund and the next day, $2300 to the Obama Victory Fund. On October 8, he contributed $6500 to the Committee for Change.
But it is money from relatives of Bersin’s wife, Lisa Foster, a superior court judge, that may raise eyebrows. Her mother, wealthy Rancho Santa Fe widow Pauline Foster, gave $2100 to Obama for America. And Richard Silberman, father of Jeff Silberman, who is married to Lisa’s sister Karen, gave a total of $3300 to the Obama campaign in March and August. Now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, former Jack in the Box millionaire Richard Silberman was once California’s premier Democratic power broker and top advisor to then-governor Jerry Brown. Later he married Republican Susan Golding and financed her political career. That ended when he landed in federal prison after he was convicted in 1990 on money-laundering charges resulting from an FBI sting that featured a phony drug deal.