Obama Pleads for Megadonor

Obama at the Waldorf: 'If somebody here has $10M, I can’t solicit it from you, but feel free to use it wisely'
Obama at a campaign event / AP Images

Obama at a campaign event / AP Images

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President Obama came dangerously close to violating campaign finance law during a campaign fundraiser Tuesday, Politico reporter Ken Vogel noted on Twitter.

The president pleaded with the crowd at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City: “If somebody here has a $10 million check—[laughter]—I can’t solicit it from you, but feel free to use it wisely [Laughter],” according to the White House pool report.

Federal law prohibits coordination between candidates and affiliated Super PACs, while also prohibiting candidates from soliciting for donations to those Super PACs.

Here is an excerpt from the president’s remarks. The relevant passage is in bold.

The bad news is that these folks have super PACs that are writing $10 million checks and have the capacity to just bury us under the kind of advertising that we’ve never seen before.
And we’ve never seen something like this, so we don’t know what impact it’s going to have.  And that means that we’re going to have to work a little bit harder than the other side.  It means that we have to have more volunteers.  We have to have a better grassroots organization.  It means the people who can write $25 checks or $50 checks or $100 checks or $1,000 checks — that’s how we’re going to be able to compete.

We don’t need to match these folks dollar for dollar.  We can’t.  I mean, if somebody here has a $10 million check — (laughter) — I can’t solicit it from you, but feel free to use it wisely.  (Laughter.)  But that’s not our game.  Our game is grassroots.  Our game is mobilizing numbers and passion and energy and focus and hope.  That’s who we are.

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