Reporters and photographers that travelled to the west coast with the president were not allowed anywhere near the fundraiser on Tuesday and were left in the dark when Obama met with donors for the House Majority PAC on Wednesday, POLITICO reports.
The White House Correspondents’ Association complained on Tuesday about the extremely limited access to Obama’s gathering with Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong’s widow to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Add the fundraisers into the mix and you have one very unhappy WHCA.
“We think these fundraisers ought to be open to at least some scrutiny, because the president’s participation in them is fundamentally public in nature,” said Christi Parsons, president of the WHCA. “Denying access to him in that setting undermines the public’s ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing. It’s of special concern as these events and the donors they attract become more influential in the political process.”
The White House is getting around media access at Super PAC fundraisers by claiming that the president is showing up to them as a “featured guest” and that he is not making any formal remarks. According to POLITICO, as long as Obama isn’t asking for more than $5,200 he isn’t technically breaking any rules.