White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today was carefully dodging questions about WHETHER THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS FOR SALE, denying that there is a “set price” for meetings with the president.
So what does that mean, exactly – no set price – that the price is negotiable?
Not that the questions were very pointed or the dodging and obfuscation very difficult. Take a look:
I love the way Carney emphasizes that lobbyists can’t contribute, as if that makes the whole thing Kosher for freaking Passover. And note how he doesn’t deny that money can buy access to the president, just recites some attorney-written garbage about there being no “price.”
Organizing for Action is the revamped Obama campaign organization that will serve as a mass group backing Obama’s initiatives.
At the top, it’s little more than the private sector version of the White House, stocked with former White House aides who, since they are not technically working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, can solicit all the money they want from any jerk they like, unless that jerk is also a lobbyist. That is, until they decide to start soliciting from lobbyists. Ex-senior White House officials like David Plouffe, Jim Messina, and Jon Carson are all involved.
And what’s more, if said jerk can come up with enough money, as a New York Times piece made clear last month, he – or she, lets be fair, I don’t want to deny anyone their chance to be a jerk – gets to meet with OBAMA. Yes, that OBAMA, the one who is trying to get all the dirty money out of politics and purify Washington.
The Times describes how this works:
Contributions will also translate into access, according to donors courted by the president’s aides. Next month, Organizing for Action will hold a “founders summit” at a hotel near the White House, where donors paying $50,000 each will mingle with Mr. Obama’s former campaign manager, Jim Messina, and Mr. Carson, who previously led the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House. Moreover, the new cash demands on Mr. Obama’s top donors and bundlers come as many of them are angling for appointments to administration jobs or ambassadorships.
“It just smells,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause, which advocates tighter regulation of campaign money. “The president is setting a very bad model setting up this organization.”
Mr. Obama’s new organization has drawn rebukes in recent days from watchdog groups, which view it as another step away from the tighter campaign regulation Mr. Obama once championed.
OFA “will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors,” the Times writes. Imagine, just imagine, if a Republican did this.