By Christopher Weber
President Obama came into office vowing to change the status quo in Washington, but when it comes to rewarding fundraisers, he’s behaving no differently than past presidents.
Top donors to the Democratic Party have been given “VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings,” according to a Washington Times investigation.
The White House has hosted several receptions for donors; contributors with the fattest wallets were given access to senior officials. One fundraiser visited the Oval Office on his birthday, and others were allowed to use the White House bowling alley and movie theater.
The biggest donors apparently get face time with the president. Robert Wolf, chief executive of the UBS Group for the Americas and a top fundraiser from New York, was invited to play golf with Obama over the summer. Wolf was later appointed to Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Fundraiser Alan Solomont was nominated to be ambassador to Spain.
Presidential aides admitted the Democratic National Committee has footed the bill for certain events at the White House, but denied that there was a “systematic effort” to raise funds for the party at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
In a statement to Politics Daily, the DNC made no differentiation between big money donors and other party allies.
The Republican National Committee called on the White House to immediately release the names of donors given perks and called for an probe into any quid pro quo. Administration spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president has instituted tough ethics rules and that ”every name of every person that comes to this White House” will be made public.
UPDATE: The White House responded to an inquiry from Politics Daily about the donations:
“President Obama has opened the doors of the White House to hundreds of thousands of Americans since the administration began, and for the first time in history, records detailing who visited the White House will be made public on a regular basis,” Ben LaBolt from the press secretary’s office wrote in an e-mail. “Many of the people mentioned in this story have been friends and associates of the Obamas for decades … Given that nearly 4 million Americans donated to the campaign, it’s no surprise that some who contributed have visited the White House as have grassroots organizers who didn’t contribute financial support and people who actively opposed the President’s candidacy.”