Messina: I can't rule out OFA selling access, but it's all about the grassrooots, really

I mentioned last night that Organizing for Action Chairman Jim Messina’s defensive op-ed, a feeble attempt to allay widespread criticisms that Obama’s new “advocacy group” has plans to essentially sell access to the president, didn’t accomplish much more than confirming Team Obama’s “we do what we want” attitude about the whole thing — and he really didn’t help himself out with his appearance on CBS News on Friday morning, either.

But, no corporations! But, we’ll publish all donors’ names! But, but… grassroots! So much grassroots!

“There will be events where our supporters are briefed about what the president is doing, but look, the president has laid out a very clear agenda. This organization’s only goal is to help the president lay out that agenda,” Messina told CBS News on Friday.

Asked specifically if the president would attend a “founder’s summit” next week in Washington, Messina responded, “We’ll see.”

“The president will do what he did during the campaign, which is communicate to his grassroots supporters and ask for their help,” Messina said.

Pathetic. The continued insistence that “our average campaign donation was $51 dollars” and “this is all about mobilizing the grassroots” is not going to be enough to hide what’s really going on here.

As for that ‘no federally-registered lobbyists’ gag? Yeah, there are ways around that. But remember, kids: “These are not lobbying opportunities.”

President Barack Obama prides himself on rejecting donations from registered lobbyists, but a newly released list of campaign fundraisers is peppered with leaders from companies and law firms that lobby the federal government.

New bundlers, whose names were released this week, include Anthony Welters, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, and Qualcomm co-founder and former chairman Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan.

Each raised at least $500,000 for the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that includes Obama’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and party committees in several battleground states. …

Qualcomm has spent at least $6 million each year since 2007 on federally reportable lobbying efforts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. UnitedHealth spent at least $2.5 million annually in the same period.