White House: There Is No ‘Set Price’ for Buying Meeting with Obama

White House accused of selling access to Obama for $500,000

Carney: Access to Obama Is Not for Sale (Politico)

White House press secretary Jay Carney denied Monday that access to President Obama was for sale, while leaving open the possibility of Obama getting directly involved with high dollar supporters from his nonprofit group.

Carney said that when outside groups visit the White House, "administration officials can meet with them, including the president."

Obama's new nonprofit group — Organizing for Action — would be no different, according to Carney. But Carney said that access to Obama would not be sold.

The LA Times reported this month that officials for Organizing For Action were courting high dollar donors who would each raise or contribute up to $500,000. According to the LA Times — and a detailed report in the New York Times this weekend — those top donors would get access to the president in quarterly meetings.

That decision has drawn the ire of reformers and critics, who say it looks like the White House is selling access.

"This just looks bad. It looks like the White House is selling access," NBC's Chuck Todd said on his "Daily Rundown" program Monday. "The definition of how you define selling access. If you believe money has a stranglehold over the entire political system, this is ceding the moral high ground."

A Democrat familiar with the OFA's plans told POLITICO that those discussions reported by the New York Times were preliminary, not finalized. The Democrat said that OFA would have both a high dollar and a grassroots fundraising program and that the organization would voluntarily disclose their donors.

Carney did not deny that Obama would have meetings with supporters of his new nonprofit, saying only that the White House follows all laws and rules regarding outside groups.

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