Oct 28, 2009

Top Democrat donors get White House perks

Bill Clinton was the champion of exchanging nights in the Lincoln bedroom and other White House perks in exchange for donations -- until now.

After the White House enjoyed a quiet and respectable eight years, Barack Obama is bringing back the Clinton tradition with a vengance.

During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House.

The commercialization of the White House is back stronger than ever.

High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.

One top donor described in an interview with The Times being given a birthday visit to the Oval Office. Another was allowed use of a White House-complex bowling alley for his family.

Bundlers closest to the president were invited to watch a movie in the red-walled theater in the basement of the presidential mansion.

In an attempt to downplay the White House commercialization, deputy White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said, "Contributing does not guarantee a ticket to the White House, nor does it prohibit the contributor from visiting."

Bill Clinton aides made similar statements during the 1990’s.