You don’t get into a State Dinner hosted by the White House without an invitation, particularly when the guest will include somebody like Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron. Unfortunately, there’s a twist to this, and it has gotten to be ridiculous: The best way to receive an invitation from the Obama White House is to buy one. Millions of dollars poured in for Barack Obama by virtue of the efforts of all his top campaign bundlers who were invited this latest State Dinner, and when you consider the laundry-list of the well-heeled, it’s small wonder that they didn’t hire a banker to print the invitations. ABC News provided the list of guests and how much they had gathered for a chance at this affair, and as you might guess, it’s a list of the who’s-who of top Obama bundlers.
Here’s a sample:
- Gerald Acker, Huntington Woods, MI – $200,000-$500,000 (Goodman Acker PC)
- Mark Alderman, Bryn Mawr, PA – $200,000-$500,000 (Cozen & O’Connor)
- Jean-Phillipe Austin, Miami, FL – $200,000-$500,000 (Physician)
- Matthew Barzun, Louisville, KY – $500,000+ (Brickpath LLC)
- Tom and Andrea Bernstein, New York, NY – $500,000+ (Chelsea Piers Mgmt)
- Neil Bluhm, Chicago, IL – $200,000-$500,000 (Walton Street Capital)
- Wally Brewster, Jr., and Robert Satawake, Chicago, IL – $200,000-$500,000 (General Growth Properties/Keller Williams Realty)
- Jim Crown, Chicago, IL – $200,000-$500,000 (Henry Crown & Co)
- John Crumpler, Durham, NC – $500,000+ (Hatteras Venture Architects)
- Meredith DeWitt, Harvard, MA – $200,000-$500,000 (Political Consultant)
- Fred Eychaner, Chicago, IL – $500,000+ (Newsweb Corp)
- Joseph Falk, Miami, FL – $200,000-$500,000 (Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson)
- Rajiv Kumar Fernando, Chicago, IL – $200,000-$500,000 (Chopper Trading)
- John Frank, Bellevue, WA — $500,000+ (Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft,)
As you can see, you won’t get in with a “Benjamin” dropped in the basket to join this crowd. Of course, it will be argued that all presidents due this, but I think that’s part of the problem. For you and I, there is no hope of rubbing elbows with the rich and famous at one of these events, even assuming momentarily that our politics were ‘right,’ because it has become a game of buying access. Worse, it’s buying access to foreign heads of state, and it leads one to wonder what else it might buy. How many of these people or the organizations they represent will be the recipients of some government hand-out or other cronies’ deal?
With this sort of thing being routine, how can the American people this or any president claims to represent get any kind of say in their government? The message is pretty clear: Bundle enough campaign contributions, and you get a seat at a well-placed table. It’s another despicable abuse of the office, and I don’t care which party is doing it.
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