Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama campaign new fund-raising venture: "Chicago Leadership Circle"

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NASHUA, NH.--President Barack Obama hits Chicago on Wednesday for three fund-raising events, as a new fund-raising enterprise, the "Chicago Leadership Circle" develops a perk package for donors.

The venture is overseen by the Obama 2012 campaign Illinois Finance co-chairs, Vicki Heyman, John Rogers and Neil Bluhm and provides access to events--many at the Obama 2012 headquarters at the Prudential Building-- for a flat donation of $5,000. A monthly payment option--in $1,000 chunks--is available.

The marketing strategy is this: leverage the flow of political operatives coming to headquarters to involve donors in briefings and other events. The most elite Obama fund-raisers--his National Leadership Council--routinely get briefing sessions at their quarterly meetings with top Obama administration and campaign officials.

The campaign already sends out a string of high profile surrogates on the campaign trail; the council seems a cost-effective strategy to make money off of folks who are coming to Chicago anyway. One of the challenges for Illinois Obama fund-raisers is to widen the circle of donors for 2012--and get 2008 contributors who have not written checks yet jazzed up enough to put down some campaign cash.

"To show our appreciation for your past support, we'd like to invite you to join an exciting new venture: The Obama 2012 Chicago Leadership Circle. As the 2012 campaign moves into full swing, there will be a constant influx of key policy makers and political operatives coming to our city. The Leadership Circle offers you the unique opportunity not only to watch the evolution of the campaign up close, but also to shape the future of our country," the Illinois Finance chairs wrote to potential donors.

Obama is headlining two high end dinners and a concert at the University of Illinois-Chicago forum with CSI: NY star Hill Harper and R & B star Janelle Monae.

Folks who join the "CLC" were going to get free tickets and VIP seating for the rally. Last week, "CLCers" watched the Iowa caucus returns from Obama headquarters. A breakfast with Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also in the works.

The Obama team is also selling--according to one marketing pitch-- "unparalleled networking opportunities -- With Chicago serving as the Obama 2012 campaign headquarters, our city will experience a constant influx of key policy makers and political operatives. The Chicago Leadership Circle offers members an ongoing opportunity to talk with these individuals, as well as with other politically interested Chicagoans who desire a place for networking and smart discussion."

As previously disclosed in earlier reports here, Obama keynotes a $35,800-per couple dinner at the North Side home of media mogul Fred Eychaner, a major donor to Democratic organizations, campaigns and "SuperPacs," the third party groups playing a role in the 2012 campaigns.

There is a reception in Hyde Park at the home of Evonne and Stuart Taylor, who is the managing partner of The Taylor Group, a private equity firm who is CEO of one of its holdings, Analytic Innovations. Donors are being asked for at least $7,000 with $20,000 for a host reception for a couple. Bundlers--people who tap their personal networks to get others to write checks can get in of they raise at least $30,000.

Host Committee members at the Taylor event include Illinois Obama 2012 Finance honcho John Rogers Jr. and pals Cheryl and Eric Whitaker. More host committee names: Les Coney, Alan and Sophia King, Susan McKeever, Jesse Ruiz, Joshua Schwartz, Nigel and Deborah Telman.

Proceeds go to the Obama Victory Fund 2012, run by Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee.

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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 January 10, 2012 1:04 PM.

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