Soon after donating $100,000 to Obama’s 2013 inaugural committee, the Southern Company announced it was “newly optimistic” about prospects for gaining an $8.3 billion loan guarantee from the federal government for building a new nuclear power plant. Is a quid pro quo involved here, asks Public Citizen. Answer: “We need more information to answer that question, but it sure seems fishy.”
No person in history has raised as much political money as Barack Obama, from small donors and large donors. He promised he’d use his clout to reform the campaign finance system to reduce the corrupting influence of special-interest donors and increase the chances that candidates without big-money connections could serve in public office. But truth-be-told he’s done next to zero to fulfill his promise to change the system; for example, he’s backed away from shoring up the presidential public financing program or helping create one for Congressional candidates; and he choked when it came to delivering on his bully-pulpit condemnation of the Citizens United decision.
Meanwhile, his campaign has created a new vehicle that will funnel donations up to $500,000 into Organizing for Action (the latest version of OFA), allegedly in exchange for face time with the President. That’s a lot of zeros, but Obama staffers deny the donation will buy special access. NC Gov. Pat McCrory’s associates set up a similar kind of operation after his election, with clear promises of face time with the new governor in exchange for high levels of giving. If we can’t stop these operations, we at least need much more information in real time about who is donating how much, when, which may help explain why.