Watchdog Groups Warn of Fundraising Scandal in Obama Second Term

(The Hill)—Government watchdog groups once allied with President Obama warn he could become embroiled in a second-term scandal because of ties to a group set up to collect unlimited donations.

The group, Organizing for Action, plans to raise unlimited chunks of funding to promote the president’s agenda. It is chaired by Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, and advised by David Plouffe, who recently served as Obama’s senior adviser.

The creation of this group by Obama’s inner political circle combined with the president’s silence on campaign finance reform during Tuesday’s State of the Union address has alarmed government watchdog groups such as Common Cause and Public Citizen.

“We’re concerned by his Organizing for Action group that’s being set up because it creates a huge potential for government corruption where basically corporations and other wealthy donors can fund this new group that can be a partner organization that is basically working on Obama’s agenda,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, senior vice president for policy and program at Common Cause.

“It invites through a back door special interest influence and access and it’s a step in the wrong direction,” she added.

One Democratic senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, says at the very least the Obama administration should not allow political advocacy groups such as OFA to benefit from a tax exemption intended for social welfare organizations.

Wyden pressed Jack Lew, Obama’s nominee to head the Treasury Department, on the subject during a hearing Wednesday.

“They’re really ripping off the tax code because they’re not social welfare organizations. They’re doing politics,” Wyden told Lew.

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h/t: Brian Smith

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