CBS reporter Chip Reid got a bit pushy today with Robert Gibbs, and Gibbs was not successful in cutting him off, although he tried. See video below.
According to CBS, the DNC “document” “spells out exactly” what the deepest pockets can buy:”
Those who raise “$300,000 before the 2010 midterm elections” get
quarterly meetings with “senior members of the Obama Administration…
twice-monthly conference calls… (and) contribute to shaping policy
agendas.” In other words, the kind of access most Americans can only
Gibbs insisted that this White House, the most transparent White House ever, said they would release the names and dates of everyone entering the White House, but when Reid pushed further and asked if the names would be” just a name on a list,” or would the names be identified with their donations, Gibbs referred Reid to the DNC – twice.
Reid objected, saying White House officials were involved. Was this a quid-pro-quo, Reid asked.
Saying that “hundreds of thousands of people have visited the White House” since inauguration day (9 months), Gibbs dismissed the suggestion that donors have access to the White House bowling alleys, but CBS quotes some of those donors who wish to remain anonymous (so…will their names appear on “the list?):
Several bundlers, who didn’t wish to be named, describe invitations to
use the executive office bowling alley with family and friends, and a
surprise birthday visit to the White House to see the president.
CBS took the DNC document to a former Federal Election Commission chair, Scott Thomas, who said this:
“It’s okay to have a big bash and people can have a nice piece of
rubber chicken but where you actually start drawing people in who have
given the money to the policy discussions – I think there ought to be
some way to draw a line there,” Thomas said.
I believe this happens in all administrations to some extent, but the proper question, as Chip Reid posed it: Is it a quid pro quo, because if it is, then the White House is definitely on a political auction block.