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Democrat Fat Cat Donors Get WH Perks

From the Washington Times:

Democratic donors rewarded with W.H. perks

Matthew Mosk

October 28, 2009

During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings.

High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.

One top donor described in an interview with The Times being given a birthday visit to the Oval Office. Another was allowed use of a White House-complex bowling alley for his family. Bundlers closest to the president were invited to watch a movie in the red-walled theater in the basement of the presidential mansion.

Mr. Obama invited his top New York bundler, UBS Americas CEO Robert Wolf, to golf with him during the president’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation in August. At least 39 donors and fundraisers also were treated to a lavish White House reception on St. Patrick’s Day, where the fountains on the North and South Lawns were dyed green, photos and video reviewed by The Times and CBS News also show.

Presidential aides said there has been no systematic effort to use the White House complex to aid fundraising, though they acknowledge the DNC has paid for some events at the presidential mansion…

But veteran Washington observers say the Obama-era perks still carry shades of the so-called "donor maintenance" programs of past administrations, when Bill Clinton rewarded fundraisers with White House coffees and overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom and George W. Bush invited "Pioneers" to Camp David or his Texas ranch.

And the donor access raises questions about the fervor of Mr. Obama’s stated commitment to clean up what he once called the "muddy waters" of Washington, where political cash is exchanged for access, ethics experts said…

Rewards for those who supported the president’s 2008 campaign have been doled out in less formal ways. Two top bundlers, for instance, described invitations to bring their families to the private bowling alley at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House. Both spoke on the condition they not be named because they did not want to damage their relationship with the White House…

Marty Nesbitt, who bundled between $50,000 and $100,000, and John Rogers, who bundled more than $500,000, have both spent time with Mr. Obama in the White House, including joining the president in the White House movie theater, which Mr. Obama’s aides said is nothing surprising…

Also as with previous administrations, however, it can often be difficult to distinguish between a president’s friends and his financial backers.

Several of those interviewed said they only met Mr. Obama by virtue of their efforts to assist his Senate and presidential campaigns.

"No, they’re not all friends," said Lanny Davis, a Washington Times columnist and a Democratic lawyer who helped the Clintons respond to allegations about Lincoln Bedroom guests back in the 1990s. "They are supporters of the Democratic Party who are generous with their financial support, and without them we would not be able to compete against our Republican opponents."

The more things Democrats change, the more they remain the same.

Still, what a laff, in light of all of Mr. Obama’s high-flown promises during the campaign.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Democrat Fat Cat Donors Get WH Perks”

  1. Right of the People

    This is news?

  2. Who is paying for this?
    Oh I know. Taxpayers. So kind of us to allow TOTUS to entertain such important dignitaries in grand style …
    (Unfortunately I think this has been happening for a long time, it’s not news … and probably not exclusive to what’s occupying the WH at the moment …)

  3. Liberals Demise

    So how much is the muslim charging for a weekend in the Lincoln Bedroom?


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