Obama Aides Defend Use of White House Room for Campaign Pitch

June 29, 2011

By , FoxNews

The White House offered a vigorous defense Tuesday of a presidential campaign video filmed inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., saying no lines were crossed by using federal facilities in a political pitch.

The Democratic National Committee video advertises the campaign’s “Dinner With Barack” raffle — the campaign wants donors to contribute $5 or more for the chance at having dinner with the president. In the video, President Obama tells supporters that, in a last-minute addition to sweeten the deal, Vice President Biden will join them.

“Hope to see you soon,” Obama said, before the video directs viewers to the website where they can donate and sign up.

The room where the video was shot is in the White House, and apparently is the same room Obama has used to shoot several of his weekly radio addresses. The circumstance quickly raised questions about whether the campaign was in violation of federal election law, which says federal employees, including the president, cannot solicit election funds “while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties by an officer or employee of the United States.”

The legality of it may boil down to where in the White House the pitch was filmed, as certain parts of the White House are exempt from the restriction. A decades-old legal opinion allows solicitations in the “private residence” areas of the White House.

The White House said everything’s above board and “entirely appropriate,” for several reasons.

“It’s not a violation of the campaign finance laws,” a White House official told FoxNews.com.

To read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/28/obama-aides-defend-use-white-house-room-for-campaign-pitch/#ixzz1QekQz7hG


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