OFA caught selling access to Obama officials

Thomas Lifson
This is a major scandal, involving Organizing for Action, formerly known as Obama for America, and still found on the web at barackobama.com. It involves a top fundraiser caught red-handed trying to sell access to top officials in return for a $100,000 donation. Via Jammie Wearing Fools, we find that Justin Sink of The Hill reports:

Organizing for Action is revamping its fundraising practices and fired a fundraiser amid questions about whether the group was promising access to Obama administration officials in exchange for donations.

Samantha Maltzman, a top fundraiser for the Democratic group with strong ties to President Obama, resigned from the organization after NBC News obtained emails between her and Dr. Munr Kazmir, a New Jersey businessman, explicitly listing prices to attend a summit last week with the president. 

The emails conflicted with a pledge by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, who wrote in an op-ed last year that “we can't and we won't guarantee access to any government officials.”

While Kazmir ultimately did not donate to the group, the NBC News investigation revealed he did attempt to deliver a $100,000 donation from a New Jersey physician, Dr. Joseph Piacentile.

Maltzman returned the check because Piacentile has been convicted of Medicare fraud, but asked Kazmir to have him donate the money instead to America Votes, a partner organization that unlike Organizing for Action (OFA) does not disclose its donors. 

In other words, OFA was willing to have the money accepted at a sister organization that would not let the public know of the dirty donation. How’s that for transparency?

It is a “pattern and practice” (in the lingo of the law):

OFA officials speaking anonymously to NBC said that the donation was the third time that the group had asked large donations to be diverted to other progressive groups.

This stinks to high heaven. Much worse than coning off a couple of lanes of traffic, but unlikely to receive a tenth the media attention.

This is a major scandal, involving Organizing for Action, formerly known as Obama for America, and still found on the web at barackobama.com. It involves a top fundraiser caught red-handed trying to sell access to top officials in return for a $100,000 donation. Via Jammie Wearing Fools, we find that Justin Sink of The Hill reports:

Organizing for Action is revamping its fundraising practices and fired a fundraiser amid questions about whether the group was promising access to Obama administration officials in exchange for donations.

Samantha Maltzman, a top fundraiser for the Democratic group with strong ties to President Obama, resigned from the organization after NBC News obtained emails between her and Dr. Munr Kazmir, a New Jersey businessman, explicitly listing prices to attend a summit last week with the president. 

The emails conflicted with a pledge by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, who wrote in an op-ed last year that “we can't and we won't guarantee access to any government officials.”

While Kazmir ultimately did not donate to the group, the NBC News investigation revealed he did attempt to deliver a $100,000 donation from a New Jersey physician, Dr. Joseph Piacentile.

Maltzman returned the check because Piacentile has been convicted of Medicare fraud, but asked Kazmir to have him donate the money instead to America Votes, a partner organization that unlike Organizing for Action (OFA) does not disclose its donors. 

In other words, OFA was willing to have the money accepted at a sister organization that would not let the public know of the dirty donation. How’s that for transparency?

It is a “pattern and practice” (in the lingo of the law):

OFA officials speaking anonymously to NBC said that the donation was the third time that the group had asked large donations to be diverted to other progressive groups.

This stinks to high heaven. Much worse than coning off a couple of lanes of traffic, but unlikely to receive a tenth the media attention.