Obama to speak at OFA dinner
March 11th, 2013
08:22 AM ET
1 year ago

Obama to speak at OFA dinner

(CNN) - President Barack Obama will appear at a dinner Wednesday night for Organizing for Action, the nonprofit group that originated from his re-election campaign, multiple sources tied to the organization confirmed Monday.

The dinner comes amid criticism that the group plans to grant special access to the president for top OFA donors–a claim that Jim Messina, the group's national chairman, has attempted to rebuke.

While some have attacked OFA for being like other organizations that take large donations from anonymous wealthy contributors and corporations, Messina wrote in an op-ed Thursday for CNN.com that OFA does not "accept contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists or foreign donors."

And while it doesn't have to disclose all of its donors, Messina said they "believe in being open and transparent" and pledged to identify donors who give more than $250 every quarter.

Last month, reports in the New York Times and 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.

The reports quickly prompted questions of whether top donors could buy access to the president.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday shot down the notion that there was a price tag to meet with Obama or his staff. He said the president's appearance at OFA is just like any appearance he would make at other Democratic groups, such as the Democratic National Committee or the campaign organizations for the House and Senate.

"OFA was set up to promote the president's public policy agenda, and therefore as anyone would expect, the president would likely meet with representatives to discuss his agenda," Carney said in the daily briefing. "Any notion that there's a price set for a meeting with the president is absurd and wrong."

But he hasn't denied that top donors to the group could attend meetings with Obama or members of his staff.

Wednesday's OFA dinner is part of a two-day summit at the Washington hotel. The group has been actively working to advance the president's policy goals, including his recent pushes on immigration, fiscal matters and gun control.

The event occurs on the eve of the Conservative Political Action Conference–an annual conservative gathering in the Washington, D.C. area–opening up plenty of room for more criticism from the right about Obama's relationship with donors.

Politico first reported the story about Obama's upcoming OFA appearance.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Jim Acosta, Kevin Liptak and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. James Bond

    Let the whinning begin, would you like to go first donna?, i love a baseless, senseless venting session in the morning, you never did say why killing four thousand plus was better than four. cheney, on tv last week, when asked of his biggest faults, he could not name one, that says alot, and he would do it all over again, wow.

    March 11, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  2. James Bond

    Jeb bush said the further we get out, the more kind history will be to his brother, which is better than what we have going on now. really, losing 4-800k jobs a month, wall street days from total collapse, 10% unemployment, that was better than now, do these idiots really believe this bs, or just think im stupid enough to?

    March 11, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Conservatives just want to create a scandal out of a mole hill. No one the right complains when Republican Presidents, or other leading Republican politicians holding office, speak at events sponsored by groups like CPAC.

    March 11, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  4. Fair is Fair

    $500,000 well spent, eh?

    March 11, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  5. James Bond

    Same old crap, not a clue, hold strong for the rich, too many middle class voting for a party bent on destroying you. other than the aca, how many plans do you agree with, tax loopholes onlyy for the rcih?. or companies bringing profits back from outsourced jobs untaxed? look no further than g.w.'s tax evasion seminar last nov, now thats a real american for ya! go away jeb, you sound good, but its all bs, you cant admit your brothers adminisration was toxic, till then see ya

    March 11, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Humm,
    I think Mr> President is looking for a Budget. Maybe Organizing For Action will help him find it !! Well (Phony) James Bond. If you never do anything you never do anything wrong Eh? So far our President, well never mind.

    Conservative isn't a Political View, it is a Common sense View. Conservatives spend their own money. Liberal's, now masquareding as Progressaves don't have any of their own money, so they try to seperate you from your money for great causes !!

    March 11, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  7. Enough is Enough

    President Truman had a sign on his desk that said the buck stops here, the one on Obama's desk should say for sale.

    March 11, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  8. James Bond

    Hillary will appreciate the help, anyone but christie,and she is a shoe in. i just cant wait to see how much money the tea bags, and koch bros, aldeson, norquist will spend at the thought of a woman pres. i hope they have a heart blip or two,

    March 11, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  9. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Oh my God. Republicans even attack our President for where he eats, where he spends his spare time and for playing golf. What a bunch of pathetic losers.

    March 11, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. Jerry

    Oh, oh! Trouble ahead... The White House and the president of the USA are for sale...or rent?!

    March 11, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. Evergreen

    How is this different from any other PAC and lobbyists. They all receive access to our elected leaders. Adelson did not contribute Millions of dollars in the last election just for the heck of it.

    March 11, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. James Bond

    I wonder if the repubs will send in a mole?

    March 11, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |