Former Priorities USA chief Bill Burton dodged questions about reports that Organizing for Action will sell access to the White House, but defended the president’s dark money group Tuesday.
“If the president and the people who support him were to sit back and say, you know what, with these big things that are coming down the line between gun control, immigration, climate, even on the economy and what’s happening with sequestration and fiscal cliff,” Burton said, when pressed by Alex Wagner on access to the White House for big donors. “For them to sit by and say we’re going to let the forces of the right gather up their armies, raise hundreds of millions of dollars–the Koch brothers can cut checks for that amount–and just stand by and do nothing, that would be inexplicable.”
The original question stems from reports that donors who give $500,000 to OFA will enjoy quarterly meetings with President Obama, as well as other White House meetings.
Liberal watchdog Common Cause said Tuesday OFA should be shuttered in response to the news.
“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,” Bob Edgar, the group’s president, said in a statement. “Access to the president should never be for sale.”
OFA is a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) and therefore not required to disclose its donors nor the amount of their donations. In addition to major individual donors, the organization’s leadership has been courting corporate donors.
Burton co-founded the Obama-affiliated Super PAC Priorities USA, best known for producing a campaign ad that suggested Mitt Romney may have been responsible for a woman’s death from cancer.