President Obama’s supporters were reportedly offered deep discounts for what the San Francisco Chronicle reported as a “fast cash-and-grab fundraising drive” which took place in California’s Bay Area on Wednesday.
A donor who attended one of two events at which the president spoke told the Chronicle on condition of anonymity that he paid $5,000 instead of the initially-requested $25,000 donation to sit down with POTUS. The event took place at the Four Seasons Hotel located on Market Street.
The House Majority PAC reportedly said that the event was not a fundraiser, and the president was merely being featured as a special guest speaker at the event.
“Five-thousand dollars to sit down with the president for an hour? That’s usually what it costs for a photo of you and your whole family [with Obama],” the man said. He was reportedly offered the discounted price after “balking” at the $25k price tag, the Chronicle notes.
POTUS has been turning increasingly to his Bay Area supporters for donations, particularly after an April Supreme Court decision struck down limits on overall campaign contributions. This means super PACs like the House Majority PAC, which helped organize one of Wednesday’s events, and party committees like the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) can repeatedly request donations from party donors.
The second event, a lunch which took place on a tennis court surrounded by a grove of olive trees at the mansion of real estate tycoon George Marcus and his wife Judy, had approximately 90 guests who paid $10,000 a head. Just over two months ago, a similar event held in close proximity to Wednesday’s luncheon cost donors $32,400 apiece.
The Chronicle pointed out that the event was dominated by an “older crowd,” and was devoid of the “young” angel investors and “tech leaders” who had “flocked to fundraisers” Obama had held during his previous 17 visits to the Bay Area as president.
House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was also in attendance. POTUS took a jab at John Boehner, with whom he recently sparred over the nation’s illegal immigration crisis, as he told the crowd that he needs Nancy Pelosi back “as Speaker of the House.”
While the president failed to mention any of the international events that have been gripping foreign policy talks and headlines worldwide — such as the war between Hamas and Israel or the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine’s Russian separatist-controlled territory — he did express his frustrations with Washington, D.C.
“As I look back, I realize how many of you have pictures of me with no gray hair. You’re chronicling the slow deterioration of Barack Obama,” the president lamented to the crowd.