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NYT: Obama Uses ‘Pay To Play’ For WH Visits

From an unfazed New York Times:

White House Opens Door to Big Donors, and Lobbyists Slip In

April 14, 2012

… Although Mr. Obama has made a point of not accepting contributions from registered lobbyists, a review of campaign donations and White House visitor logs shows that special interests have had little trouble making themselves heard. Many of the president’s biggest donors, while not lobbyists, took lobbyists with them to the White House, while others performed essentially the same function on their visits.

Notice how The Times bends over backwards to downplay this. The headlines says they let big donors and lobbyists "slip in." And they never once mention any of Obama’s endless campaign promises to not allow lobbyists in the White House once he is elected President.

More broadly, the review showed that those who donated the most to Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party since he started running for president were far more likely to visit the White House than others. Among donors who gave $30,000 or less, about 20 percent visited the White House, according to a New York Times analysis that matched names in the visitor logs with donor records. But among those who donated $100,000 or more, the figure rises to about 75 percent. Approximately two-thirds of the president’s top fund-raisers in the 2008 campaign visited the White House at least once, some of them numerous times.

The reasons someone might have gained access to the White House and made a donation are wide-ranging, and it is clear that in some cases the administration came down against the policies being sought by the visitors. But the regular appearance of big donors inside the White House underscores how political contributions continue to lubricate many of the interactions between officials and their guests, if for no other reason than that donors view the money as useful for getting a foot in the door.

Some of the donors had no previous record of giving to the president or his party, or of making donations of such magnitude, so their gifts, sometimes given in close proximity to meetings, raise questions about whether they came with expectations of access or were expressions of gratitude.

There are no "questions." In Chicago, they call this ‘pay to play.’ Just ask Mr. Blagojevich, or any of Mr. Obama’s other political cronies.

Dr. William C. Mohlenbrock, chairman of a health care data analysis firm, Verras Ltd., gave occasionally to political candidates over the years, mostly small amounts to Republicans. But last May he contributed the maximum allowable gift, $35,800, to the Obama Victory Fund, which benefits the president’s campaign and the Democratic Party. Later in the year, with help from a Democratic consultant, he landed a meeting with a top White House aide involved in the health care overhaul, but failed to persuade Medicare officials to require more health data collection as part of the new regulations.

But after Mr. Obama wins re-election he will have a lot more ‘flexibility.’

Joe E. Kiani, who heads a medical device company, Masimo Corporation, stepped up his giving to Democrats last year as medical device makers campaigned unsuccessfully for the repeal of an excise tax imposed on the industry. Mr. Kiani had several meetings with White House officials last year, including two with lobbyists from his company and another with representatives from his industry’s trade association. In the midst of these gatherings, he donated $35,800 to the victory fund.

It’s just a coincidence.

Administration officials insisted that donations do not factor into White House visits, and they cited steps taken to curb the influence of money in politics, including a ban on executive branch employees’ accepting gifts from lobbyists and on appointees’ lobbying the White House after they leave. Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, pointed out that Mr. Obama was the first president to release the visitor logs regularly, and added that “being a supporter of the president does not secure you a visit to the White House, nor does it preclude you from one.”

“The people selected for this article are contributors to the president,” Mr. Schultz said, “but this article excludes the thousands of people who visit the White House every week for meetings and events who did not contribute to the president, many of whom may not have even supported the president.” …

[However] Patrick J. Kennedy, the former representative from Rhode Island, who donated $35,800 to an Obama re-election fund last fall while seeking administration support for a nonprofit venture, said contributions were simply a part of “how this business works.”

“If you want to call it ‘quid pro quo,’ fine,” he said. “At the end of the day, I want to make sure I do my part.”

In vino veritas.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, April 16th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “NYT: Obama Uses ‘Pay To Play’ For WH Visits”

  1. Petronius says:

    The Captain Louis Renault Award :

    Supplicant businessman : How can you close me up? On what grounds?

    President Nerobama : I’m shocked, shocked to find that bribery is going on in here! [An aide hands Nerobama a pile of money.]

    Aide : Your takings, sir.

    President Nerobama : [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

    President Nerobama : [aloud] Everybody out at once!


  2. tranquil.night says:

    “contributions were simply a part of ‘how this business works.'”

    Sure especially when the media that’s supposed to be your watchdog are your biggest contributors.

  3. AcornsRNutz says:

    What I love is the guy who went there to appeal for easing a tax. They took his money and he still got bupkiss. Should have known better than to thing a piddling 35 grand could get obama to let off some kind of tax

  4. GetBackJack says:

    Obama on the Campaign Trail – “Pay to play is immoral and a hallmark of the Bush Administration. My administration will never engage in that and we will sweep that Office clean of that practice”

    Proving once again, never believe anything until it’s Officially Denied

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