Well, now, let’s not jump to conclusions. He didn’t ask anyone for money. He merely gave them the thrill of a White House visit with the president, at an event arranged by the DNC, with an eye to asking them for money later.
Rewarding “friends” with stays in the Lincoln Bedroom was how old Washington did business. Rewarding them with kaffeeklatsches in the Blue Room to banter about the economy with The One is what you and I know as “Change.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, former technology executive Bernard Schwartz and banking executive James Staley were among 30 well-connected figures in the business and finance world who met with President Barack Obama at the White House in March for an unusual economic discussion organized by the Democratic National Committee…
The March 7 meeting in the Blue Room of the residence has drawn attention and criticism because most of the attendees were donors or fundraisers and the session was arranged by the DNC. Good-government advocates said hosting the event at the White House was ill-advised…
“It is unclear why the Democratic National Committee would have been used to organize a meeting to solicit advice on the economy. Indeed, this meeting seems to walk a fine line between official and political with all of the attendant Hatch Act concerns,” Scott Coffina, who served as an ethics adviser to the Bush White House, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
“I would never have agreed to having such a meeting going on in the White House itself, in any room of the White House,” said Richard Painter, who also served as an ethics counsel under Bush. “I know there’s controversy about that. But I would not want to see those meetings, quite frankly, going on on federal property. What the legal restrictions are is somewhat more ambiguous.”
Attendees insist that discussions at the meeting were limited to “very substantive stuff” about the economy, which I suspect is true. When Team Hopenchange wants to overtly sell influence over federal policy for money, they have the good sense to walk across the street to the coffee shop. “But wait,” you’re thinking. “Why would a guy whose last campaign was famously driven by small donors need to go to such lengths to woo big donors?” Two reasons. First and needless to say, the infatuation with Obama among middle-class rank-and-file liberals ain’t quite what it used to be. They’ll still shell out for him once the DNC anoints the Republican nominee as the new Hitler, but the cash machine this time won’t be what it was. Second and more importantly, the idea of Obama being funded mainly by small donors was always a myth, feverishly pushed by him/his campaign and the media (but I repeat myself) to boost his populist credibility. Patterico wrote about that a week before the last presidential election in a post presciently titled, “The price of a money machine: Obama would owe more favors than any president in history.” While The One received more raw dollars from small donors than any previous candidate, the percentage of his overall take from them was actually smaller than it was for Bush in 2004. Which is to say, rich liberals have always been key to his election strategy.
President Obama’s reelection team has launched an invigorated effort to draw money from wealthy donors, buttressing the campaign against a potential decline in contributions from the everyday supporters who helped fuel his massive take in 2008.
A new program called Presidential Partners asks supporters to commit $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint project of the campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
That would put Democratic contributors at the maximum they are allowed to give national party committees for the entire 2012 cycle — leaving then unable to donate to the party’s congressional fundraising entities…
Members are required to pledge a total of $75,800 over the next two years — contributing the allowed maximum of $5,000 to the Obama campaign, $61,600 to the DNC and the remaining $9,200 to a joint committee controlled by the campaign that will funnel money to key battleground states. In exchange, they — like other major donors — will be invited to quarterly campaign briefings, such as the one in March that Obama himself attended.
In other words, so frantic is Obama to max out wealthy Democrats for his own purposes that he’s willing to elbow out even the DSCC and the DCCC in staking a claim to their money. Instead of padding their own treasuries for key Senate and House races, those two committees will be forced to rely more on the DNC for help — and given how tight the presidential election will likely be, the DNC will be making some mighty hard decisions on allocating funds once we get down to the wire.
But there’s nothing new here. In fact, take two minutes to read this Washington Times piece written just nine months after O was sworn in, replete with details about donors being given special access to the White House, and see for yourself how quickly “Change” became D.C. business as usual.