President Obama should direct his associates to shut down the "independent" organization they established to raise money and lobby on behalf of his domestic and foreign policies, Common Cause said today.
"If President Obama is serious about his often-expressed desire to rein in big money in politics, he should shut down Organizing for Action and disavow any plan to schedule regular meetings with its major donors," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause. "Access to the President should never be for sale."
"With its reported promise of quarterly presidential meetings for donors and 'bundlers' who raise $500,000, Organizing For Action apparently intends to extend and deepen the pay-to-play Washington culture that Barack Obama came to prominence pledging to end," Edgar added. "The White House's suggestion this week that this group will somehow be independent is laughable."
Organizing for Action's organizers have indicated the group will accept unlimited donations from individuals and corporations alike. The group has promised to disclose its donors but will release only limited information about their gifts, placing their donations within dollar ranges rather than revealing specific amounts.
"President Obama's backers should go back to the drawing board," Edgar said. "The President may feel that he needs help from an advocacy organization outside the White House and the Democratic Party, but any group he creates should be fundamentally different from what we now see in Organizing for Action.
"At a minimum, any outside advocacy organization tied to the President should live by the ground rules the President has adopted for his Administration and the anti-corruption laws that apply to political parties," Edgar said. That means any group associated with the President should refuse all donations from lobbyists, corporations and unions, provide complete and prompt disclosure of all its donors and the amounts they contribute, and impose an annual limit of $32,400 on the amount of money it will accept from any individual or political action committee.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics
Tags: Fighting Big Money