(CNN) - After reports that top donors to the political group formed by President Barack Obama's campaign team would be granted quarterly access to the president, the White House stressed Monday the new organization would remain independent from administration activities.
But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn't deny that donors to the group, called Organizing for Action, could attend meetings with Obama or members of his staff.
"Administration officials can meet with them, including the president, but the fact of the matter is this is an independent organization that is supporting an agenda," Carney said.
The reports, in the New York Times and the Washington Post, indicated supporters who raised or contributed more than $500,000 for OFA would be invited to attend meetings with the president four times a year. The group was formed in January from the remaining infrastructure of Obama's presidential campaign to help promote his policy agenda.
Asked directly whether $500,000 was the "price tag to see the president," Carney said no, and stressed that OFA was an independent organization with restrictions on how it can interact with administration officials.
He also said administration officials would not raise money for the political group, but may attend OFA events "in their official capacity."
Since its formation, Organizing for Action has utilized its substantial supporter email database, carried over from the Obama re-election campaign, to promote Obama's calls for comprehensive immigration reform and tighter gun control measures.
The news reports identifying $500,000 as the price for meeting with the president drew sharp criticism since Obama has campaigned heavily for greater transparency in government and reduced influence peddling in Washington.
Carney said Monday the president was still focused on those issues.
"The president has been very clear that we should be doing more to reduce the role of money in politics," he said, pointing to Obama's support for the DISCLOSE Act, which would require greater transparency into who funds secretive, often negative campaign advertising from tax-exempt groups who aren't required to name their donors.
While not required by law, OFA has said they will periodically identify people who gave them financial contributions.
What a joke
This is a joke. Obama is selling INFLUENCE!
Word of advice to right wing flame warriors. Remember how Karl Rove attended private Romney campaign fund raisers?
the best learder money cab buy?
He and his wife are surely on board to sell out America to hollywood – it's a new low.
boy.....he has really changed things up in washington. so much more transparent without any corruption
I really don't like the money flowing from either side of the aisle. I never will like it.
$500,000 to meet with this incompetent, imbecile of a president?! man are they getting ripped off!
OK, so where are all the lefties in here that were screaming about the Republicans trying to buy the last election? This is the outright PURCHASE of a President. This is quid pro quo influence peddling and is ILLEGAL. So when is a special counsel going to be appointed to determine just how badly our government has been corrupted by the Obama administration? This is just the latest in a very long list of illegal behavior and wanton disregard for the laws of this country.
Obama trying but he doesnt have the right approah he cant keep blowing through r money it didnt even help the ecomeny it time for a real conservate like paul ryan obama and george bush were big spender and created this mess
Same old-freedom–just askin-Donna and Rick McDaniel–everyday all day nothing new as usual. Stop posting and get to work, stop stealing from your employer.
All you right wingnuts can't possibly be upset by this. Karl Rove is the posterboy for influence buying and sucking up to the dealmakers in town. I guess the GOP just cannot stand that the Democrats are not only playing their game, but are darned good at it. LOL. I love it!
Wow, this is sad!!! We are selling the Office!!!
I really don't like the money flowing from either side of the aisle. I never will like it
Yes, it must be tough to see your illusions burst so easily when you realize you have been conned by another corrupt Chicago politician. To know that not only doesn't he walk on water as you believed, but sells his country out for money. Let me know where I can send the sympathy card.
Now you "journalists" in the White House stenographer pool know what it takes to get access!
HAAAAAAAAA! HAAAAAAAAAAA! HAAAAAAAAAAAA!