Only in its first week of operation, the Obama campaign 501(c)4 is soliciting financing from major corporations like Lockheed Martin, Citi, and Duke Energy, Politico reports.
President Obama's reelection campaign formally announced its rebirth as "Organizing for Action," a tax-exempt 501(c)4 on Sunday. With that designation, the group is able to accept unlimited donations and is not required to disclose the identities of those donors, though OFA says they will do so.
According to Vogel, at a private corporate-sponsored event, OFA leadership outlined the prominent role major campaign donors and corporate attendees would play in the organization:
Dubbed the "Road Ahead" meeting, the conference was sponsored by a White House-allied trade association called Business Forward, which is funded by major corporationsincluding Microsoft, Walmart and PG&E – each of which sent senior executives to participate in a panel on how to boost American economic competitiveness.
Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager and the Organizing for Action national chairman, and OfA Director Jon Carson, pleaded with invited big donors to support the new group. "We need you. This president needs you," Messina said, adding Organizing for Action was "building a national advisory board filled with people in this room."
Carson told the donors, who were treated to cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres after the day’s sessions, "there’s going to be a place for each and every one of you."
Business Forward garnered national attention during the fiscal cliff negotiations for its incredible access to the White House; the trade association boasts that it has organized hundreds of meetings between corporate groups and White House officials. The meetings fall outside lobbying rules, but the Business Forward members pay dues to the organization.
Even with this incomplete list, a number of the involved corporations have major interests at stake with the federal government.
Business Forward sponsor Wal-Mart is under intense scrutiny for its position as likely the largest national gun retailer. The corporation has also been dealing with bribery allegations against its Mexican affiliate, and ongoing flare-ups over its stance on unions.
Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, is staring down the threat of massive layoffs at the hands of the upcoming sequester. In October, Lockheed canceled a plan to issue layoff notices in advance of sequestration--at the White House's request. The defense contractor announced Thursday its fourth-quarter income fell 17 percent.