Darrell Issa (R-CA) wrote a letter last Monday to White House lawyer, Kathryn Ruemmler, requesting that the White House provide documents relating to questionable methods that the Obama administration has implemented in his unprecedented fundraising campaign which is on track to break all previous records by a hefty margin. Issa serves on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which is the “principal oversight committee of the House of Representatives and may at ‘any time’ investigate ‘any matter’ as set forth in House Rule X.”
Issa refers to two main concerns. The first is based on reports from The New York Times and Politico that states that on March 7, 2011, Obama hosted an event in the Blue Room with 30 business leaders and was characterized by White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, as a “consult with business executives about their ideas about, you know, what to do in terms of economic policy and business policy going forward, including financial sector policy.” Issa raises concern, however, because the Democratic National Committee (DNC) organized, sponsored, and attended the event. The official nature of this meeting is in question because most of the 30 business leaders who attended were also reported by Politico to be donors and fundraisers.
Meredith McGehee, Policy Director from the Campaign Legal Center, is quoted in that same article as saying, “There’s a pretty clear line — or there should be a clear line. I don’t have a problem with the president inviting Wall Street people to the White House to discuss policy, but why does it need to be DNC-sponsored? I think that’s what raises the eyebrows. Even if it’s not a fundraiser, it’s a cultivation.”
In an interview with CNN, Issa states, “You’re talking with your contributors, what are you talking about if not reelection?”
The second main concern is the “blatant and potentially illegal use of the White House and other official government resources for fundraising purposes.” This is highlighted in a video that the President made in the White House’s Map Room soliciting a raffle for a dinner with him and Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for a campaign donation. This solicitation was also sponsored by the DNC. Specifics of illegality are further explained in a more recent article by this author as well as in an article in NewsMax. The White House has responded by saying that this is entirely legal if it is done in a residential part of the White House. The only problem, however, is that the Map Room has been repeatedly used by Obama in official business discussed in the above linked articles.
These issues have pressed Issa enough to request that documents and materials from the White House that relate to these events and any other DNC events are provided for review and investigation as soon as possible, but no later than July 26th, 2011.
On July 15th, the Federal Election Commission will release the campaign fundraising figures and it is widely suspected that not only will Obama crush his GOP competitors, but will break all previous records and be well on his way to reaching the $1 billion campaign mark. However, in a time of economic instability, jobless figures maintaining at a high rate, and Fed chief Ben Bernanke suggesting that the Federal Reserve will pump more money into a deflated economy if need be, then dubious sentiments grow such as Issa’s when he states:
“In this time of economic challenge and uncertainty—when millions of Americans are unemployed and seeking the basic comfort of a paycheck—the Administration has chosen to emphasize campaign branding and fundraising rather than working to strengthen the economy. Promoting the ‘Obama Brand’ and building a $1 billion campaign war chest ought to be secondary to improving the economy and providing economic stability for American families.”