President Barack Obama, who pledged as a presidential candidate in 2008 to strengthen the Federal Election Commission and nominate members “committed to enforcing our nation’s election laws’, is now creating “an unprecedented vehicle for potential influence-buying, influence-selling and government scandals for his administration during his second term.”
So says Fred Wertheimer, a longtime advocate of more restrictions on campaign fundraising and president of Democracy 21, a Washington-based advocacy group, as he called on Obama to shut down his new grassroots lobbying group.
Wertheimer is referring to Obama’s decision to convert his re-election campaign committee to a nonprofit group, Organizing for America, which can take in unlimited corporate, union and individual contributions and can keep its donors hidden from public view.
While the committee has said it will disclose its contributors, Obama’s inaugural fundraising committee pledged to do the same, though simply provided a list of names without any identifying occupations, addresses or amounts.
Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which removed limits on corporate and union spending in campaigns. Now, Wertheimer suggested, Obama is “opening a cashier’s window with his name on it.”
The Obama campaign committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.