During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings.Of course since the Washington Times isn't part of the President Approved Punditry, this story will be largely ignored.
High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.
One top donor described in an interview with The Times being given a birthday visit to the Oval Office. Another was allowed use of a White House-complex bowling alley for his family. Bundlers closest to the president were invited to watch a movie in the red-walled theater in the basement of the presidential mansion.Note how Obama's pledges of "transparency are largely ignored.
Mr. Obama invited his top New York bundler, UBS Americas CEO Robert Wolf, to golf with him during the president's Martha's Vineyard vacation in August. At least 39 donors and fundraisers also were treated to a lavish White House reception on St. Patrick's Day, where the fountains on the North and South Lawns were dyed green, photos and video reviewed by The Times and CBS News also show.
Since taking office, Mr. Obama has pledged that his administration will be "the most open and transparent administration in history" and has agreed to make public the names of those who sign into White House visitor logs, though a request from The Times for logs that show visits from his top 45 bundlers has so far gone unfilled.The White House, for their part, provided some comic relief.
Requests for guest lists to various White House events, such as a recent cocktail reception surrounding the celebration of the Pittsburgh Penguins' National Hockey League Stanley Cup victory or the Latin music concert last week, have also been denied repeatedly.
"This Administration has across the board set the toughest ethics standards in history. As a result, we have reduced special-interest influence over the policymaking process to promote merit-based decision-making. We believe that is due in no small part to our insistence on strict adherence to the rules - an approach we intend to continue."