CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Mayor Rahm Emanuel quit his role as an Obama campaign co-chair in order to raise millions of dollars for Democratic SuperPacs-- tasked with helping bankroll ads to win President Obama a second term. This comes as GOP SuperPacs are beating Democrats in fund-raising.
The main Obama SuperPac was founded by two Emanuel proteges: Sean Sweeney, who was Emanuel's chief of staff when Emanuel was in the Obama White House and Bill Burton, a former White House spokesman who worked for Emanuel when he ran the Democratic House political operation, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Paul Begala, one of Emanuel's closest friends and political confidante, is a consultant to that SuperPac. There have been several stories about how donors--big shots capable of writing million dollar checks--have been wanting someone of stature to make the ask, not former staffers. Emanuel could fill that bill.
Under federal law, White House and campaign officials can appear before potential SuperPac donors--but they cannot make a direct cash request. This frees Emanuel--who made his name in politics as a professional fund-raiser--to directly cajole contributors.
I was told Wednesday morning by a source that Emanuel resigned as a co-chair before the convention--but no one in his operation publically disclosed his switch, first disclosed Wednesday morning by Washington Post reporters Tom Hambuger and Peter Wallsten. The source said Emanuel jumped into a bigger fund-raising role because "his goal is to re-elect the president."
Emanuel prefers to do his fund-raising in secret--that's been true for years, especially when he ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.