According to Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer:
Today’s Los Angeles Times article provides new information about President Obama’s privately funded arm, Organizing for Action, that affirms just how dangerous this operation is for democracy.
In his first term in office, President Obama took pride in the millions of ordinary Americans who provided small contributions to finance his campaigns. Now that he has been re-elected, President Obama and his political operatives are focusing on big money bundlers and setting a goal for them to raise at least $500,000 each to enter into the President’s inner circle. In return, special access apparently will be provided to these bundlers. Special access often leads to special influence.
The article also indicates that the organization’s previously promised disclosure of donors is phony disclosure. The disclosure now being described for the group is, in fact, wholly inadequate disclosure. It is designed to hide from the American people the actual amount being provided by the big donors and the corporations that respond to the solicitations that will come from the group and possibly from President Obama himself.
Organizing for Action is a vehicle that can easily result in corruption of government decisions and it is almost certain to result in the appearance of corrupting influence.
Democracy 21 again calls on President Obama to shut down this unprecedented organization and to return to governing the country without relying on big money from wealthy donors and corporations to subsidize the functioning of his presidency.
The Los Angeles Times
By Matea Gold
WASHINGTON — Leaders of Organizing for Action, President Obama‘s new nonprofit advocacy group, are courting his top campaign bundlers to be part of a high-dollar fundraising network that will help finance the work of the nascent organization.
During a swing through the Bay Area and Los Angeles this week, OFA Chairman Jim Messina and Executive Director Jon Carson met with members of the Obama campaign’s National Finance Committee and told them there will be a similar structure in place to support the work of the nonprofit group, which is set up as a 501(c)4 social welfare organization. They were accompanied by Rufus Gifford, who served as finance director for Obama’s reelection bid.
OFA officials declined to comment on the record, but confirmed that the group would have a finance committee similar to that of the campaign.
Bundlers will probably be asked to raised $500,000 to be part of the committee. Such top fundraisers will get perks in return. One reward that was floated as a possibility was an invitation to quarterly meetings with Obama.
Such proximity to the president is nothing new for those being courted, who include the most prolific fundraisers for Obama’s political campaigns.
“People are not doing this to get their third or sixth photo with the president,” said one bundler who attended an OFA fundraising outreach session this week. “Everybody is in because they are in.”
Messina and Carson told attendees that the group would disclose donors on a quarterly basis, although the organization is not required to do so under law. Exact contributions will not be listed; rather, donors will be listed under different ranges of contributions.
The donor meetings, which included a breakfast Wednesday at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, marked the first fundraising trip by OFA officials as they gear up the new organization. Messina also sent an email to Obama supporters after the president’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night, asking for contributions of $5 and up for the nonprofit.
The reception was largely positive among the big donors and bundlers, several of whom expressed satisfaction that there was a plan in place to press Obama’s agenda. There is strong support for gun control measures, in particular.
“The reaction is, ‘Great, we were wondering what we do next,’ ” said one.
The fundraising trip comes as OFA is increasingly taking form as the home for Obama’s operations outside of the White House. As of this week, the Twitter accounts of both Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are listed as being run by “Organizing for Action staff.”