Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Obama Nonprofit Says Donors Can't Buy Access

Donors to the nonprofit version of President Barack Obama's successful campaign apparatus will not be able to buy their way to special access to the president, according a spokeswoman for the organization.

It was announced weeks ago that Obama's campaign organization would be re-launched as a nonprofit, called Organizing For Action (OFA), and that the group would advocate for the president's second-term agenda by connecting with supporters. Since then, there have been whispers that donors who raised or gave more than $500,000 to the group would be invited to have face-to-face meetings with President Obama.

Those reports were strongly pushed back by both the White House and OFA. In an article in The Washington Post, OFA spokeswoman Katie Hogan is quoted as saying "No one has been promised access to the president." In addition, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a press briefing Monday that there was not a "price tag" for meeting the president. He did not, however, directly address whether high-priced donors would be invited to quarterly meetings with Obama.

“Administration officials routinely interact with outside advocacy organizations,” Carney said. “This has been true in prior administrations and it is true in this one.” In both presidential campaigns, Obama has spoken out against the influence of money in politics.

Sources with knowledge of OFA's plans told The Post that the organization has plans to raise millions of dollars. Those same sources said that OFA officials have reached out to 50 top Obama donors who intend to raise $500,000 or more this year to support the president's agenda. Many of these donors previously served on the Obama campaign's National Finance Committee, and they will undoubtedly expect some perks for shelling out huge sums of cash. Yet, according to the report, an explicit menu of benefits were not given to the donors.

During the 2012 campaign, high-value donors were offered perks such as a chance to talk politics with Obama for 25 donors who bought a $35,800 ticket to a luncheon in San Francisco.

Two top OFA officials, Jim Messina and Jon Carson, have been meeting with top Obama fundraisers in recent weeks to discuss the group's agenda and to get financial support. Top donors who are willing to raise $50,000 have already been invited to attend a March 13 "founder's summit" in Washington, D.C.

You can read the full article in The Washington Post.

No comments: