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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Organizing for Action, President Obama’s new nonprofit advocacy group, is looking for some of his top campaign bundlers to help finance its work, but some in the media (usually sympathetic to the President) are questioning the move.
OFA officials have confirmed off the record that the group will have a finance committee similar to that of the campaign. Bundlers will be asked to raise $500,000 to be part of the committee. The nonprofit is not that unusual, but the perk being offered is what is raising eyebrows. One reward that has been talked about is a guaranteed meeting with Obama at the White House.
Leaders within OFA say offering proximity to the president is nothing new for those being courted and that those joining up are not doing so for a photo op. “People are not doing this to get their third or sixth photo with the president,” said one bundler. “Everybody is in because they are in.”
Donor meetings, which included a breakfast at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, marked the first fundraising trip by OFA officials as they gear up the new organization. The reception was mostly positive among the big donors and bundlers, several of whom expressed satisfaction that there was a plan in place to press Obama’s agenda regarding gun control measures in particular.
OFA, a perpetual fund-raising platform for the President’s agenda, is taking shape as the base for all of Obama’s operations outside of the White House. The Twitter accounts of both President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are now listed as being run by “Organizing for Action staff.”
But MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, normally an apologist for Obama’s agenda, has come out strong in his criticism of the plan. Todd characterized OFA as a “dark money group” and called the plan to woo high-end donors with promises of White House meetings with the president as “the definition of access.”
“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.”
OFA is a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) and therefore not required to disclose the identities of its donors, nor the amounts they give.
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