How to Win Friends and Influence People

It’ll cost you big bucks to find out how:

Could you pass the Grey Poupon?

The White House extended state dinner invitations to more than 30 of President Barack Obama’s top fundraisers, including a handful of donors to an independent political group backing his re-election effort, an Associated Press review has found.

Such coveted seats for Wednesday’s event honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife went to about two dozen supporters who each raised $200,000 or more for Obama’s campaign. Those included film producer Harvey Weinstein, New York financier Orin Kramer and Miami public-policy consultant Joseph Falk.

Indeed, it is not uncommon for presidents to reward major supporters with access to dignitary dinners: President George W. Bush invited dozens of his “pioneer” supporters to state dinners, and President Bill Clinton did the same. But Obama previously has criticized Washington’s pay-for-access privileges, and even donors themselves complained early in his presidency that they were kept at arm’s length.

The AP’s review also found some of those same donors, including Kramer and Falk, have written big checks to Priorities USA Action, a “super” political action committee run by former White House aides. Both donors contributed more than $10,000 to the group, which has struggled to raise the kind of big cash that Republican-leaning super PACs have banked on.

The nearly three dozen top donors who mingled with the dinner’s 360 total guests are also known as “bundlers” — the high-profile fundraisers who collect campaign checks from friends and business associates. Since federal campaign rules cap individual contribution limits — $2,500 each for the primary and general elections — bundlers have become significant figures for Obama’s campaign.

All told, bundlers at Wednesday’s event raised more than $8 million for his re-election efforts, records show.

No wonder Clooney works so much! Carrying Obama’s a** across the finish line takes big money.

Obama encouraged his supporters last month to donate to Priorities USA Action, a decision that drew criticism from campaign-finance watchdogs and Republicans who said Obama flip-flopped on his earlier stance assailing super PAC money. For their part, Democratic aides said they were playing by the same rules as everyone else, but also conceded they would not be left at a disadvantage in November.

An Obama campaign spokesman declined to comment for this story.

You know, I think this might qualify as a random act of journalism. It takes no stand, but merely reports both sides. (How old must the reporter be, 97?)

Just an intimate little gathering of close friends (with deep pockets):

1 Comment »

  1. Buck O'Fama said,

    March 15, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    They’re all 99 per-centers, you betcha!

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