One out of nine guests expected at last night’s State Dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron are helping finance President Obama’s reelection campaign, according to an analysis by ABC News. The event is reminiscent of the infamous Clinton White House “Coffee Klatches” at which previous or prospective Democratic donors were invited to meetings with Bill Clinton.
While technically Obama’s use of the White House to fete his donors may be legal, it certainly gives the appearance that he is using the White House grounds and a swank taxpayer-funded event to raise money.
Not only does this look like a reward for fundraising, but it seems like an enticement to continue doing so. This is because the fundraisers, who totaled 41 of the 364 expected attendees, are campaign “bundlers,” which means they generally not only give the legal maximum themselves but solicit others to contribute to Obama. So their work for the president may continue.
ABC found that the group is responsible for donating and collecting $10.7 million for the Obama campaign. The bundlers include some familiar and prominent names, according to ABC:
They include Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, media mogul Fred Eychaner, Pfizer executive Sally Susman, Stoneyfield Farms president and CEO Gary Hirschberg, and Microsoft executives Suzi Levine and John Frank. Several have each raised more than half a million dollars for 2012, according to estimates provided by Obama’s campaign and Democrats.
The Clinton operation brought in about $27 million for the Democratic National Committee from those invited to attend dozens of coffees with Clinton in 1995 and 1996. Many donors contributed during the month before or after the coffees.
Obama also came under criticism last year for a March 2011 DNC-organized meeting in the White House Blue Room between Obama and fundraisers and donors.