White House: No Price Tag for Presidential Access
(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Monday pushed back against reports that President Obama’s nonprofit advocacy group, Organizing for Action, is offering wealthy donors access to the president.
“No,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters when asked if access to Obama is for sale.
The New York Times reported last week that donors who contribute at least $500,000 to the advocacy group are guaranteed a seat at quarterly meetings with the president. The group was formerly known as Organizing for America, the president’s campaign operation.
Carney declined to comment directly on the quarterly meetings or say whether donating that much money would guarantee access to the president.
“The president is engaged in an effort to pass items on his agenda,” he said. “And outside organizations that support the agenda, like organizations that are environmental in nature and support aspects of the president’s environmental agenda, or organizations that support his manufacturing agenda…administration officials can meet with them, including the president.”
Carney repeatedly stressed that OFA is an “independent” organization, not affiliated with the White House.
“The president has been very clear what his agenda is. This is an independent organization that supports the policy initiatives that the president puts forward, not unlike a variety of so-called, you know, 501(c)(4) organizations. The fact of the matter is the president has continually pressed for greater transparency in our political system,” he said. “But this is not an organization, based on what they’ve said, that is involved in political campaigns. It is involved in issue advocacy.”
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