Statement by Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer

White House press secretary Jay Carney today reportedly said at his daily briefing, “Any notion that there is a set price for a meeting with the president of the United States is just wrong.”


So what does Mr. Carney make of the following published reports?

An article in The Washington Post on February 24, 2013 noted that Organizing for Action Chairman Jim Messina and Executive Director Jon Carson “have suggested $500,000 as a target level for OFA bundlers and that top donors get invitations to quarterly OFA board meetings attended by the President.“[1]

An article in The New York Times on February 22, 2013 stated:

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.[2]

An article in The Los Angeles Times on February 14, 2013 said:

Bundlers will probably be asked to raise $500,000 to be part of the [OFA finance] 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.[3]

Is Mr. Carney saying that the articles in The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times are all wrong?

Based on the published reports, it certainly looks like there is a “set price” for meetings with President Obama.

If Mr. Carney wants to clear this up, he should have Jim Messina and Jon Carson publicly and unequivocally state that there have been no discussions with or representations made to potential donors and bundlers about receiving meetings with President Obama in return for making donations to or fundraising for Organizing for Action.

In any event, Democracy 21 continues to assert that Organizing for Action is a national scandal waiting to happen and that President Obama should promptly shut down this unprecedented and dangerous arm of his presidency.