Video: Carney Flees Questions on OFA Selling Access to the Presidency

Posted: Feb 26, 2013 10:07 AM

We'll get to Carney's harried peace-out momentarily, but first let's get you up to speed.  Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that Organizing for Action (OFA) -- the post-election iteration of Obama's campaign apparatus -- is busy raising tens of millions of dollars to help apply political pressure on behalf of the president's second term agenda.  Times reporter Nicholas Confessore describes one of OFA's unorthodox fundraising methods that is garnering additional scrutiny: 

In private meetings and phone calls, Mr. Obama’s aides have made clear that the new organization will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors, not unlike the “super PACs” whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored. At least half of the group’s budget will come from a select group of donors who will each contribute or raise $500,000 or more, according to donors and strategists involved in the effort. 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....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.  

The media has managed to forgive a litany of Obama's self-serving reversals of "principle," but this potent pairing of flagrant flop-floppery and high-dollar presidential access-peddling proved too much even for MSNBC's Chuck Todd:


"This just looks bad."

Just to review: The One abandoned his long-standing, ostensibly passionate support of public financing of elections in 2008, after he discovered that he could raise much more money on his own.  Then, after railing against big money, slash-and-burn Super PACs as a "threat to our democracy," he gave his blessing to a Super PAC of his own in 2012 -- which infamously ended up slandering Mitt Romney in the most despicable ad of the entire cycle.  Now his political team is soliciting six-figure donations from liberal millionaires, effective entrance fees to special White House meetings with the president.  Barack Obama promised to change the way things work in Washington.  He was right.  I'll leave you with the clip I teased in the headline.  Here's Jay Carney dumping on Republicans, natch, in an attempt to spin away OFA's unprecedented cash-for-access project.  When a CNN correspondent presses for some additional information, Carney mutters something about contacting "the organization" and leaves the podium.  Bye, guys:

But remember, this is the most transparent administration in American history.