White House Denies Giving Perks to Donors

GOP wants an investigation after newspaper report
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2009 2:20 PM CDT
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, left, flank former Oklahoma Sen. David Boren in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – White House officials are engaging in damage control after GOP Chairman Michael Steele accused the Obama administration of offering selected donors perks in exchange for big contributions. Steele’s charges stem from a Washington Times report today claiming that DNC contributors who give $30,400 or bundle $300,000 get inappropriate access to policymakers. He wants an investigation.

The story also says big donors get trips to the White House bowling alley and movie theater. Administration officials say the trips organized by the DNC are part of normal “donor maintenance” and that the arrangement is not a quid pro quo. "Many of the people mentioned in this story have been friends and associates of the Obamas for decades, including college roommates and family friends whose relationships predate and are separate from the president's career in public service," says a White House spokesman.