On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama announced an agreement by the Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) to join her nonprofit Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) in a two-year agreement to help promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption to kids. Among the corporate interests Mrs. Obama has wooed to her cause: Wal-Mart, Nike, Reebok, Nickelodeon, Walt Disney and the administration's former Public Enemy No. 1, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Politico.com notes that trade groups including the American Beverage Association, the International Bottled Water Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Restaurant Association are all working with the first lady behind closed doors.
Her related initiative "Drink Up" is supported by the American Beverage Association, water filter companies BRITA and SOMA, and bottled water brands Aquafina, BEVERLY HILLS 9OH2O, DASANI, EVIAN Natural Spring Water, Hint, Voss, WAT-AAH!, Nestle Waters North America's Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Nestle Pure Life, Ozarka, Poland Spring and Zephyrhills. Joining her for the rollout of that initiative: Hollywood actress Eva Longoria, who gets paid to promote sugary soda pop Pepsi when she's not standing by Michelle Obama telling the rest of us to drink more healthy water.
Mrs. Obama's nonprofit reportedly has assets of $4.5 million. It doesn't have to disclose its donors. So much for the "most transparent administration ever." Even left-wing watchdogs are irked. "This is a classic case of the game of influence peddling by lobbying associations," Craig Holman, who works for the liberal watchdog group Public Citizen, told Politico.com. "Lobbyists and corporations with business pending before the federal government invest in such charitable causes as a means to buy access and favor from the White House."
In 2008, candidate Obama preached: "We need a president who will look out for the interests of hardworking families, not just their big campaign donors and corporate allies." In 2013, first lady Michelle Obama is busy signing up as many corporate allies as she can.