When Super PACs Get Angry About the President’s Fundraising

Supporters hoist signs reading ‘Forward’ as US President Barack Obama states his acceptance to run for a second term as president at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012 on the final day of the Democratic National Convention.


The snarkiest attack on the White House’s Organizing for Action, and its promise of exclusive “quarterly meetings with the president,” for half-a-million-dollar donors, comes from American Crossroads. OFA is a 501(c)4, which means it can raise unlimited amounts from individual donors, but it can’t coordinate with a campaign. Barack Obama isn’t running for president in 2016. There is no “campaign.” Thus, the access. Thus the attack:

The implication of the ad is that OFA’s buckraking is more than obnoxious, more than insulting—it might be illegal! After all, it’s akin to Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s 1990s fundraising scandals, real contravention of contemporary law. I posed this theory to Crossroads’ Jonathan Collegio. “I think you might be reading a little too much into it,” he said. I tend to do that. But the POTUS’ allies are able to raise more legal money, more shadily, because of the war of attrition on donation limits. If a lawsuit joined by the RNC is successful, individual donors will be able to hand bigger checks to candidates—not just lame ducks.

Correction, March 4, 2013: This post originally misspelled Jonathan Collegio’s first name.