On Monday, President Barack Obama’s campaign team emailed a short video to supporters and donors. The video, seen below, was reportedly filmed in the White House by a crew from the Democratic National Committee.
“The president’s video is accompanied by a donor solicitation form in which supporters of the administration can check boxes donating from $5 to $700 to the Obama-Biden re-election effort,” reported Real Clear Politics. “This may, or may not, constitute fundraising by a federal employee in a federal office building, a practice that is generally prohibited.”
In an interview with the website, unnamed White House officials confirmed that the video was shot in the White House, but maintained that shooting the video was not illegal.
According to the article, the officials said: “First… an open process for small donors to essentially win a raffle is not the kind of fundraising prohibited under the law — and the president didn’t make a direct appeal for donations, anyway. Second… longstanding advisory opinion from the Justice Department… differentiates between the residence portion of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave… and official rooms in the White House.”
The article also said that previous Presidents had used the White House for similar efforts.
“(D)irectly raising money in the White House was indeed the context of the bitter controversy President (Bill) Clinton and Vice President Al Gore provoked in 1995 and 1996 by aggressively raising millions of dollars in campaign funds during activities expressly designed to use the White House as a hook to attract donor interest,” the article read.
In the video, the President invites supporters to enter a contest, where four winners will join him for dinner, saying Vice President Joe Biden will also be in attendance.
“We’re setting another place at the table for Joe Biden, who wants to join us,” President Obama said in the video. “So this isn’t so much dinner with Barack anymore as it is dinner with Barack and Joe. To use one of his favorite expressions, that’s a big deal.”