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Obama’s Pay to Play Politics Drawing Fire From the Left

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 5, 2013

In a sign that even some on the Left are tiring of the President’s sleazy politics, the New York Times has joined others in criticizing Obama’s willingness to sell access to the White.  Late last month in article titled Obama’s Backers Seek Big Donors to Press Agenda the Times reported on the President’s election organization, Obama for America, morphing into an organization called Organization for Action (OFA) with the goal of raising $50 million to advocate Administration policies.  The Times said of this scheme that it has “ample potential for influence-peddling, and no real precedent in national politics”.

OFA will act as a super PAC, the type of political organization so often attacked by Obama in the past.  It plans to raise over half of its funds through deep-pocketed donors.  Since OFA is set up as a tax-exempt “social welfare group”, it will be exempt from federal regulations including contribution limits and those that bar the White House from soliciting contributions.

This month OFA will hold its “founders summit” where donors who pay $50,000 will meet with former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and ex-White House official Carson.  However, the holy grail for access is made for donors giving $500,000 or more who will then be placed on an Obama advisory board that will meet quarterly with the President.  Deep-pocketed individuals and corporations will thus gain power and influence by donating to the President’s cause.  Common cause Pres. Bob Egger set of this arrangement: “It just smells.  The President is setting a very bad model setting up this organization.

In a later editorial titled The White House Joins the Cash Grab, the New York Times when even further stating:

 “And now that this White House has torn down the last wall between its needs and those of special interests, others in the future will undoubtedly do the same.”

“…  at least half of which will come from donors pressured to bring in $500,000 or more.  Give or raise that much and you get to be on the group’s ‘national advisory board,’ which will hold quarterly meetings with the president.  That is nothing more than a fancy way of setting a price for access to Mr. Obama.”

“When conservative groups first began using social welfare groups as vehicles for fund-raising and advocacy, Mr. Obama denounced the practice.  ‘You can’t stand by and let the special interests drown out the voices of the American people,’ he said in 2010.  A year later, though, he allowed his supporters to set up a “super PAC” called Priorities USA Action, and the new group is built on the same defeatist philosophy ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’.”

“If Organizing for Action wants to restore the bracing political spirit that carried Mr. Obama into office in 2008, it can refuse all corporate contributions and limit donations to a few hundred dollars.  Otherwise, it will be playing the same sleazy game that its opponents do, made even worse by the assent of the president.”

As this Blog has proffered in the past, Barack Obama has much in common with Richard Nixon.  Both had problems with the truth.  Both placed their own personal gain above the good of the Country.

 

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