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Republicans hypocritical in criticizing Biden fund-raiser

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WASHINGTON--The Republican National Committee--which does not routinely disclose fund-raising activities of chairman Reince Priebus --has some chutzpah taking on the White House and the Democratic National Committee for not allowing a pool reporter to cover Vice President Biden's funder Tuesday, at Navy Pier in Chicago.

There should be one standard of disclosure--a high one--for both the Democrats and Republicans.

The RNC is hypocritical for criticizing the Obama team on fund-raising disclosure and coverage when it hardly discloses anything about its fund-raising activities.

For years, I've written columns urging disclosures of all fund-raisers and hosts--information that is not available on reports filed with the Federal Election Commission or, in the case of state candidates, with state election authorities.

The Obama White House does allow pool reporters to cover a portion of fund-raisers if "formal" (as they define it) remarks are delivered by Biden, President Obama or First Lady Michelle. Reporters usually are not allowed to stay and cover the more interesting question and answer sessions.

Is this Obama team system optimal? No. Should Biden's comments at the small Navy Pier event be open to press coverage? Yes. But team Obama does more than the RNC--or for that matter the 2012 Republican presidential candidates-- when it comes to being transparent about fund-raising activities.

RNC Spokesman Ryan Mahoney sent out a statement Tuesday dinging the Obama team for "shutting out the press"--something the RNC does on a routine basis when it comes to fund-raising.

From Mahoney: "If you're looking to cover Vice President Joe Biden's fundraiser in Chicago today, good luck, you're going to need it with this administration's track record of shutting out the press. If covering tonight's DNC fundraising event with Vice President Biden, please consider the following quote:

"While Vice President Biden schmoozes with donors in Chicago, millions of unemployed Americans are coming to the realization that only jobs Vice President Biden and President Obama care about are their own. This administration has lost touch with the harsh realities facing the American people and with 9.1 percent unemployment it's unclear whether any amount of campaign cash will help bolster their reelection effort. What is clear however, is that when it comes to fundraisers, this administration is willing do what it takes to avoid questions about their failed economic policies in front of DNC donors."

I called Mahoney and asked him why the RNC was complaining about the Obama team not doing something the RNC was not willing to do.

His reply: "As for RNC fundraisers, it's been well publicized that the RNC is working on rebuilding our major donor program and much of that is done through one on one sit downs with individual donors - and you're right those have not been open press and likely never will be."

Mahoney says--and I disagree--there is no "comparison to be made between RNC fundraisers and those done by President Obama or Vice President Biden. The president should be held to a higher standard about transparency and openness, especially when the administration trumpets themselves as the most transparent in history."

There is one standard, and it is not situational.

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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 June 21, 2011 4:09 PM.

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