Video: OFA selling WH access to donors?

posted at 12:01 pm on February 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

“This just looks bad,” says MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, and that’s an understatement.  Todd worries that the White House is “ceding the moral high ground” by having Barack Obama’s presidential-campaign-turned-activist-network pledge to provide access to the President in exchange for big bucks, as the New York Times reported over the weekend:

Finally, The New York Times reported over the weekend that donors who contribute and raise $500,000 for President Obama’s Organizing for Action will get special access to the President. That’s right. They’re selling access to the President. The new group has an ambitious goal — to raise $50 million to convert the President’s re-election campaign into an advocacy network and they’re offering access.  The New York Times says ‘giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the President along with other meetings at the White House.’

Excuse us? This just looks bad. It looks like the White House is selling access. The definition of how you define selling access. If you believe money has a stranglehold over the entire political system, this is ceding the moral high ground. And the President always has, from the moment he first announced his presidential bid in Springfield, six years ago, he stressed the need to curb the influence of special interests in Washington.

The NYT’s Nicholas Confessore reports on the latest version of renting out the Lincoln Bedroom:

But the rebooted campaign, known as Organizing for Action, has plunged the president and his aides into a campaign finance limbo with few clear rules, ample potential for influence-peddling, and no real precedent in national politics.

In private meetings and phone calls, Mr. Obama’s aides have made clear that the new organization will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors, not unlike the “super PACs” whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored. …

But those contributions will also translate into access, according to donors courted by the president’s aides. Next month, Organizing for Action will hold a “founders summit” at a hotel near the White House, where donors paying $50,000 each will mingle with Mr. Obama’s former campaign manager, Jim Messina, and Mr. Carson, who previously led the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House. Moreover, the new cash demands on Mr. Obama’s top donors and bundlers come as many of them are angling for appointments to administration jobs or ambassadorships.

“It just smells,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause, which advocates tighter regulation of campaign money. “The president is setting a very bad model setting up this organization.”

The only way this should surprise anyone is if they bought the idea that a Chicago Machine politician would ride into Washington to clean up that one-horse town.  What looks bad is the shock, shock that ensues when Obama reveals himself to be every bit a product of that Chicago environment.


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At this point, what does it matter?

/obligatory

/post-election

Ward Cleaver on February 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Does the term “whore” seem to resonate?

right2bright on February 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Whore was exactly what I was thinking.
Everything Obama (both of them) in one word.

ORconservative on February 25, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Is a Sandra Fluke visitation included?

Archivarix on February 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM

You have to have the moral high ground before you can cede it.

The Rogue Tomato on February 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Does the term “whore” seem to resonate?

More like tributes for the favor of our Imperial President..or a subtle means of collecting “insurance” payments for Barry’s WH Protection Racket.

hawkeye54 on February 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

O bama
F lukes
A merica\

Plus, your first cow diminished the WH, again. Both have reduced the house to Hollywood levels.

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Ignore that bar…no idea where it came from.

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM

RICO!

Scrumpy on February 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Is a Sandra Fluke visitation included?

Yes, but you must bring an extra prophylactic as a donation.

parke on February 25, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Forward!

Mr. Arrogant on February 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Plus, your first cow diminished the WH, again. Both have reduced the house to Hollywood levels.

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

That is not a very nice thing to say…………..cows have many redeeming attributes.

VegasRick on February 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM

The manand his wife have so cheapened the Office and the Presidency…

But they sure are living it up on our dime!

These people make me sick…

Scrumpy on February 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Looks like a candidate for a Capt. Louis Renault award.

Steve Tsouloufis on February 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Todd worries that the White House is “ceding the moral high ground”

That was the best laugh of the morning.

Socratease on February 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM

The arrogance would be stunning, except that Valjar’s people have realized that at this point, no one is going to stop them from doing just about any damn thing that they want to do. Expect more and worse.

bofh on February 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM

“This just looks bad,” says MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, and that’s an understatement.

So what? Who cares? Really, what are the consequences to him for anything he does? Obama has rearranged the laws of cause and effect, the ancient truths of hubris, the basic morality of the universe. He is, in fact, an earthly God.

rrpjr on February 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

As a community organizer he could use the money he is raising to cover sequester cuts he seems so worried about.

Tater Salad on February 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Is a Sandra Fluke visitation included?

Archivarix on February 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Special Delivery for Sandra Fluke

The Rogue Tomato on February 25, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Concern from the Trolls/O’bama Voters in the NYT Comments:

Hopefully money won’t be the most important element. If it is, the right wing noise machine will be able to drum up far more than the left will and his agenda will be mostly doomed.

But plenty of them say this is great!

The American people need a lobby in Congress — that’s what President Obama wants to set up. Words just go so far with legislators, you need some cash too. It works for all the special interests, time for it to work for the American people.

This sounds like the same thing the Koch brothers financed. Well financed grassroots activists. Obama is a pragmatist, not a pacifist. You have to fight fire with fire.

OFA is not being used to spread false information and rhetoric, it is being used to put the distribution of information about the Administration’s agenda on equal footing with the Republican tendency to obfuscate and mislead on every issue of importance to Progressives.

The President has it right. For those who like to pretend money doesn’t influence everything the government, big corporations, institutions, and even individuals do I have some nice property in the Florida swamps I can let you have on the cheap. It’s time the Democrats and Liberals woke up to the reality that they have to put their money where their mouths are.

I love how suddenly the wealthy who were in favor of CU, are now decrying it as they watch their billions being matched, if not surpassed, by the progressive billions pouring in.

It’s hard to blame Obama for this, since his opponents have effectively been doing things like this for a while.

Al Gore could not be reached for comment.

Genetic.

Del Dolemonte on February 25, 2013 at 12:31 PM

This is the way Democrat administrations always work – the same thing happened with Clinton if you recall – remember World Com, Loral, and Enron?

The fact that Republicans do nothing about this is a major problem.

Imagine you run a large business. The Democrat propose laws that are bad for your sector the Republicans ones that are good for it.

On first glance, this should make Republicans the obvious choice for business leaders – but they are offering to help all the companies in your space not just yours.

Conversely, Democrats are amenable to modifying their laws to exempt those that support them.

So, for example, does anyone think Google could get away with what it is doing now if it wasn’t also putting plenty of money in Democrat politicians’ hands?

18-1 on February 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

campaign finance limbo with few clear rules, ample potential for influence-peddling, and no real precedent in national politics.

Huh? There’s plenty of precedent, and none of it good. At least the old Obama Administration met donors across the street in the coffee shop — the new one eschews that model for a more efficient — and earlier — one.

unclesmrgol on February 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Did I just hear Chuck Todd blame this on Citizens United, FOAD Chuck.

D-fusit on February 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM

So? Obama will ignore this just as he has ignored every other illegal thing that has been done by him. Are they back to full drilling in the gulf coast after the judge ruled they could? How about the NLRB and the ruling that his recess appointments were illegal? Nope they’re still going strong. Not enough space to list all the crap this president has done…

sandee on February 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM

no worries, nothing to see here…

-lsm

cmsinaz on February 25, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Some people will pay good money to have their taxes raised.

You just cannot fix stupid.

Jabberwock on February 25, 2013 at 12:39 PM

“This just looks bad,” says MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, and that’s an understatement

Not newsworthy.

This Every single show on my own damn network just looks bad,” says MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, and that’s an understatement

Now, THAT’S newsworthy.

Myron Falwell on February 25, 2013 at 12:39 PM

chuck=broken clock…

but it’s all a big myth ain’t it chuckie

cmsinaz on February 25, 2013 at 12:41 PM

“This just looks bad,” says MSNBC’s Chuck Todd …

Then, Chuck, just don’t cover the story. Ignore it like all of the others.

Carnac on February 25, 2013 at 12:43 PM

So isn’t this solicitation of a bribe? Why isn’t this illegal? It doesn’t just “look bad” this objectively bad, immoral, corrupt, pick your word.

BillyWilly on February 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM

What a surprise. Snort. Just another example of the president being a hypocritical and shameless opportunist. Well, he wouldn’t succeed if people who support him had scruples and refused to give. But they will, and they’ll give big. America has become as corrupt as a third world nation. And yes, I know, it didn’t start with this president, he’s just expanded on it.

scalleywag on February 25, 2013 at 12:49 PM

What needs to be said that we haven’t been saying already?

itsspideyman on February 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM

So let me get this correct, Jug Ears is trying to raise a $50,000,000 tax free personal fund while in the WH. He will use that fund to fund his lifestyle. I hope the next republican president immediately puts the IRS on this fraud.

David in ATL on February 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM

The Campaign putting you in an uncomfortable position, Chuck? It’s just their way of keeping you guys on your toes. Don’t want to make it too easy.

forest on February 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

few clear rules, ample potential for influence-peddling, and no real precedent in national politics.

Unprecedented!

ITguy on February 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

This just looks bad. It looks like the White House is selling access

…looks?…Looks?…LOCKS?
WTF?…they could supply hookers and have pictures with them in action…and the MSM would just declare…it LOOKS bad!

KOOLAID2 on February 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Thugs of the USA, unite!

Schadenfreude on February 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

This looks bad? What doesn’t look bad! There are so many Obama administration aspects that “look bad” that we can easily just come to accept straight out corruption as the least of the things that “look bad”. This will disappear from public consciousness just as soon as party propaganda organs stop their hand-wringing about it, and the truly bad stuff will never see the light of day.

MTF on February 25, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Chuck and Candy both committing random acts of journalism within a 24 hr period, what is going on here…

hillsoftx on February 25, 2013 at 1:08 PM

What’s next? A tour stop in the Lincoln Bedroom with Reggie Love?

Stu Gotts on February 25, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Harry was wrong,the war isn’t lost.They are just getting started.

docflash on February 25, 2013 at 1:18 PM

So some of the media is now discovering that Obama may have just said those things to get elected…..50% of Americans knew it from the get go.

tommer74 on February 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Let me see if I’ve got this straight. OFA is selling access to the president in return for contributions.

How exactly is this any different from his re-election campaign?

Athanasius on February 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Blatant influence peddling, and all Chuckie Todd can muster up is a “looks bad”?

I have this fantasy where I get to b!tchslap tools like him just once. I’d smack that rodent fur clean off his face, clear into the middle of next week.

novaculus on February 25, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Remember when Obama said 501(c)(3)s were evil, and influence peddling was illegal?

Good times, good times. Those were the days.

novaculus on February 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Since when did this administration worry about “looking bad”? Is the MSM going to suddenly take Barry to task?

Hahahahahahaha!!!!!

GarandFan on February 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Words are beginning to fail me at this point. obama is nothing more than a third world…

rjh on February 25, 2013 at 2:28 PM

If this special access was, say, a dozen people or so, then it might mean something.

$50-million divided by $500,000 is 100 people. Sounds like once per quarter these folks will get together for a special address by the President. I suppose there are people who are impressed by this.

ss396 on February 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

18-1 on February 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

We tend to forget how corrupt Clinton was (though his corruption was about self-protection and self-interest rather than wholesale sedition as Obama’s). Loral is still with us. The satellite technology sold to China ended up on Venezuelan missiles pointed at U.S.

rrpjr on February 25, 2013 at 3:11 PM

If its a Democrat the NY Times refers to selling access as “appearing” to sell access. You see, you would have to be a Republican to actually be selling access. The chosen one, of course, is incapable of doing such a dastardly thing so therefore it must just be the “appearance” of him doing so. And they would of course vote for him again tomorrow.

artman1746 on February 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

We tend to forget how corrupt Clinton was

rrpjr on February 25, 2013 at 3:11 PM

That’s because most Americans were never told how corrupt he was in the first place.

Like O’bama, if the Democrat Media had properly vetted Slick, he’d never have been the nominee, much less be elected President.

Del Dolemonte on February 25, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Any congressman will tell you that ‘contributions buy access, not votes’, so in that sense there’s not anything new here. But since access is already guaranteed by the First Amendment’s right to petition for a redress of grievances, what’s really being sold here (and in every case) is the ‘right’ to have your petition listened to; and too bad for them as can’t afford the fee.

That has got to amount to selling the right of petition.

PersonFromPorlock on February 25, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Well, if it was good enough for Billy Jeff Clintoon…

hillbillyjim on February 26, 2013 at 9:40 AM

So why does the name Bobby Baker come to mind ?

Hint: it’s not because his secretary shared an apartment with Mary Jo Kopechne and also died under mysterious circumstances

J_Crater on March 4, 2013 at 6:32 PM