What does a guy who whined endlessly about unlimited big money groups do?
Become one of them.
Barack Obama has become Karl Rove. The left has been highly critical of Rove and his American Crossroads organization and now Obama has formed a mirror image group of his own, but this entity is vastly different. Rove isn’t President.
“Obama for America” has transformed into “Organizing for Action”
Washington (CNN) – As President Barack Obama begins his second term in the White House, the remaining structure of his re-election campaign will re-launch as a new political organization with a mission to advocate his agenda over the next four years.
CNN has confirmed that Obama for America will transform into a non-profit, tax-exempt group, that will attempt to leverage the re-election campaign’s powerful grassroots organization and social media operation, as well as its rich voter database and vast email distribution list, to build up public support for the president as he pushes for agreements over the debt ceiling and the federal budget, gun control legislation, immigration reform, and other objectives
OFA has taken its first action:
Organizing for Action, the pro-Obama advocacy group formed last month out of the president’s reelection campaign, is launching an online campaign urging Republican lawmakers to support universal background checks for gun purchases.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the ads will target 16 Republican lawmakers who have not publicly committed to stricter background checks, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) in ads on local news outlets’ websites starting Friday. The LA Times reports that the group spent close six figures on the ad buy, which is the issue-based nonprofit group’s first.
The ad launch coincides with the group’s national “Day of Action,” which encompasses 100 events in 80 congressional districts. According to the LA Times, Friday’s events are aimed at building support for tougher background check standards, but future “action” days will focus on other aspects of the president’s gun policy proposals.
“These events range from Letter to the editor writing parties, or rallies and press events, to candle light vigils and petitions for members of Congress,” OFA spokeswoman Katie Hogan told The Hill. “These events were tailored by our supporters on what they thought was the best event for their community.”
And to help raise money, Obama is selling access to the White House and himself.
But those 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.
And OFA is not encumbered by any nasty rules:
Unlike a presidential campaign, Organizing for Action has been set up as a tax-exempt “social welfare group.” That means it is not bound by federal contribution limits, laws that bar White House officials from soliciting contributions, or the stringent reporting requirements for campaigns. In their place, the new group will self-regulate.
HuffPo leads an article with a false and silly title
Obama Donors Aren’t Getting Special Access For Checks To Organizing For Action: White House
And then goes on to describe how donors are going to do just that
The arrangement could be seen as making a distinction without a difference: The president may not be standing in the room asking potential OFA donors for cash; but if his presence is the prize offered in exchange for a large check, he is still helping to facilitate the fundraising process.
The Hill said this was “ripe for corruption”
“We’re concerned by his Organizing for Action group that’s being set up because it creates a huge potential for government corruption where basically corporations and other wealthy donors can fund this new group that can be a partner organization that is basically working on Obama’s agenda,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, senior vice president for policy and program at Common Cause.
“It invites through a back door special interest influence and access and it’s a step in the wrong direction,” she added.
One Democratic senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, says at the very least the Obama administration should not allow political advocacy groups such as OFA to benefit from a tax exemption intended for social welfare organizations.
Wyden pressed Jack Lew, Obama’s nominee to head the Treasury Department, on the subject during a hearing Wednesday.
“They’re really ripping off the tax code because they’re not social welfare organizations. They’re doing politics,” Wyden told Lew.
“We think it’s an unprecedented and dangerous vehicle for raising money from corporations and other special interests who may be seeking government decisions. It appears to be very closely tied to the president. It shouldn’t exist. It’s going to cause problems for the president. The sooner he shuts it down, the better.”
The International Business Times reminds us of Obama’s shifting ethics
2007: Then-Senator Obama pledged to take part of the presidential financing system for the general election, under which a candidate receives taxpayer money toward their campaign but cannot spend beyond the amount of that government grant.
But in June 2008, Obama announced he was opting out of the system, becoming the first general election candidate to decline public financing since the program’s creation. He went on to outspend his rival John McCain, R-Ariz., who did accept public financing, by about four-to-one.
2008: After his historic victory, Obama’s inaugural committee pledged it would not accept corporate donations or individual contributions exceeding $50,000 to finance the event. At the time, his staff said it was abiding by “an unprecedented set of limitations on fundraising as part of President-elect Obama’s pledge to put the country on a new path.”
However, for his second inauguration, which reporters noted was considerably scaled back compared to the festivities four years earlier, Obama’s team reversed the policy, opening the door to corporate donors and unlimited contributions.
2010: After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Citizen United decision, leading the way to the creation of super PACs, Obama publicly opposed the ruling and pledged to not use super PACs as a fundraising tool.
“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said in his State of the Union address a few days after the decision. “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities.”
Only seven months later, the Obama campaign, citing the need to “face the reality of the law as it currently stands,” reversed that stance. Priorities USA, a pro-Obama super PAC founded by former White House aides, ultimately spent more than $60 million to help reelect the president in 2012.
“This just looks bad–it looks like the White House is selling access,” Todd said Monday. “It’s the definition of selling access. If you believe money has a strangle hold over the entire political system this is ceding the moral high ground.”
Not to be lost is the delicious irony of Obama selling himself to the top 1% of wealthiest Americans. Maybe even the 0.1%.
Selling access is one thing when you’re a political consultant. It’s another when you’re the President and you’re selling access. Does anyone seriously expect the meetings between Obama and those who buy him to be made public?
Watch Carney scramble to avoid explaining[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHb8PuZpcJg[/youtube]
Via Weekly Standard