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Obama's third fund-raising arm

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WASHINGTON -- On July 11, the Obama operation created an additional new fund-raising arm that has been fund-raising below the radar, in a drive to collect and funnel money to Democratic parties in 18 key battleground states to register voters and turn out the vote for Barack Obama and down ticket Democratic contests.

The "Committee for Change" just as "Obama for America" and the "Obama Victory Fund" -- is part of the effort to elect Obama. By forming a third committee, the Obama campaign can go to donors who have given the maximum under federal contribution limits imposed on the first two committees but have not totally "maxed out." A similar set-up was in place in 2004 for the Kerry campaign.

On Friday in Chicago, the featured speakers at a "Committee for Change" fund-raiser are Joe Rospars, the Obama campaign new media director and Mike Slaby, the technology director for the campaign, with national headquarters on Michigan Avenue. A ticket goes for $500; with co-chairs having to raise or donate $25,000.

One of the co-hosts: Robert Blackwell Jr., a longtime Obama friend, businessman and ping pong "Killerspin" magnate. In April, the Los Angeles Times revealed that Blackwell was an $8,000-a-month Obama legal client (before election to the Senate) and that Obama later wrote a letter for Blackwell for a state grant.

My beef: While the names of the donors giving to this Committee for Change of course are reported -- $1.89 million raised according to a September filing -- its fund-raising activities have been done out of sight. The Obama campaign has championed transparency, and "they should not shy away from telling the public what they are doing," said Chris Holman, the campaign finance lobbyist for Public Citizen.

From Obama-Biden spokesman Nick Shapiro: "The Campaign for Change is a state party-based voter registration and GOTV project working to elect Senator Obama as well as benefit the entire Democratic ticket in each state. CFC will work to harness the enthusiasm of Obama's grass-roots-level supporters and organize them in communities across the state -- neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend and colleague to colleague -- working for the benefit of Democratic candidates up and down the ticket."

15 Comments

If GWB could win FL and we all know how we won,Obama can have a 15th arm to raise funds.

The Democrat have become the thing they hate. Now they're no better than the Cheney/Rove Republicans.

Interesting that the "ping-pong" magnate also gave $112,000 to Obama's IL. Senate campaign just before Obama suggested that the state sponsor a ping-pong tournament. Ping pong, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ping pong after some "businessman" gave cash to Obama. Oh yeh, Mr. Blackwell gave Obama's US Senate campaign $1000 just days after the bill to subsidize his ping pong "business". Once again the full story concerning Obama is much worse than the story that we read in the papers.

Very little about Obama is transparent, for if it was, we would easily be able to see how much of it is illegal.

This election is mining new depths of deception and crass behavior. Is there no limit to what the liberals will do for power? Now that ACORN and voter fraud is that elephant in the room we are going to have to get used to the idea that the American election process has fallen to new depths from which it will not recover. When confidence our vote has been severely undermined by voter fraud and the raising of money has become similarly suspect, how are we to be seen as any different that some BANANA REPUBLEIC or one of those one party fake democracies. Other countries tht once looked up to us for our democratic and honest electoral process will now regard us as the cheaters we are.

I understand that the GOP has been supporting McCain's campaign too.

I'm still wondering: Where do unused contributions go?

I understand that the GOP has been supporting McCain's campaign too.

I'm still wondering: Where do unused contributions go?

Thanks for this input. I was starting to wonder why OBAMA stopped talking about all the grassroots fundraising and transparency of fundraising. I think all Americans feel that campaign spending is WAY OVER THE TOP, even if we disagree on how the alternative. I've heard that Obama has a lot of MONEY that he intends to unleash in the form of ads, etc., in the coming weeks. Is there any source, perhaps your column, where we could have an objective telling of the amount the Obama ticket and the McCain tickets have spent on their campaigns to date? I know it would require research to amalgamate sums from groups that are created to allow people to contribute to the max to each group. Thanks again for this informative column.

I'm all for transparency--but I think that's trumped in this case by the need to offset the personal attacks of the McCain campaign. I'm happy to contribute all I can to Obama--clearly the more honorable of the two candidates.

You got that right Renu.

I voted for Obama already here in Florida via mail-in-ballot.

I suggest people vote as soon as possible and vote for Barack Obama -- he can help America move in a positive direction. McCain will only offer the Bush policies of the last 8 years.

OBAMA '08

You have provided a great deal of information about the "Committee for Change."

Seems pretty transparent to me.

So, exactly how is this different from the "McCain-Palin Victory 2008" fund that goes to RNC and state coffers?

Obama is an EMPTY SUIT. End of story. Blacks can vote 99.9% for him because he is black, and its not racist. If I vote against him because he is black the media wants me to believe I'm racist.

BULLSHIT. The media is trying its best to determine the outcome of this election by its blatant pro O coverage.

Count me in for McCain. Change we CAN TRUST.

IF OBAMA IS AN EMPTY SUIT, YOUR BOY DOESN'T HAVE
A SUIT!
GROW UP, AND FACE FACTS THE BETTER MAN IS WINNING!
YOU SOUND LIKE A RACIST, AND I AM NOT A MEMBER
OF THE MEDIA!
YOUR CANDIDATE DIDN'T LEARN ANYTHING FROM BEING
IN THE SENATE 26 YEARS, HE IS A RICH GUY WITH A
RICH WIFE, SHE COULDN'T BUY HIM THE WHITE HOUSE!
OBAMA IS GOING TO DO GREAT THINGS AS PRESIDENT,
OPEN YOUR HEART AND FORGIVE YOUR RACIST SELF!
WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE AVERAGE GUYS OR GALS
RUNNING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
AND OBAMA ISN'T GOING TO GET 99 PERCENT OF THE
AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTE, HE MIGHT GET 94 PERCENT
AND OBAMA IS GOING TO WIN GEORGIA, THIS STATE IS
VERY ORGANIZED FOR OBAMA, THE PRESS THINKS MCCAIN
IS GOING TO WIN THIS STATE, THEY ARE MISTAKEN!
ADIOS, MY PROBLEMATIC FRIEND, REMEMBER TO JUDGE
A PERSON BY THE CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER, NOT
THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN!
TREAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU WANT TO BE TREATED!

The Obama fundraising campaign is the least transparent since Nixon.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 14, 2008 5:22 AM.

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