Left-leaning group calls on Obama to shutter lobbying team
Common Cause president Bob Edgar explains objection
- Duration 6:43
- Date Feb 27, 2013
Common Cause president Bob Edgar explains objection
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New developments today in an important story we've been tracking.
The president's former campaign team has formed a group that is focused on advancing mr.
Obama's legislative agenda things that gun control and so on.
But to get the ball rolling they recently sent out a fund -- pitch that sounded like they were selling access to the president as the New York Times first reported over the weekend.
-- common cause which is a public advocacy group non profit left leaning.
Expressed its outrage in the wake of the report and has now call for President Obama to shut down.
That organization his former campaign team.
That former campaign team today responded to the controversy.
Supporters have shown interest in taking a part in organizing for action that's what's called now because they believe the president's agenda.
No one has been promised access to the president and quote.
Bob Edgar is president of common cause Bob thank you very much for being here -- reaction to their denial -- -- to the report that they are selling access to the president.
Well as you know there have been many public reports that.
This particular organization spun off from the last election.
Has asked ball handlers up to 500000.
To raise money for the organization.
And the money allegedly is going to be used to support the president's legislative agenda.
Common cause just thanks that's the wrong direction this president needs to be stepping forward and stepping up on the issue of reform.
We want White House to have -- white house conference on reform.
I want the president to put his arm around.
Senator McCain and fix the public financing system.
President Obama was the first president since Watergate.
Not to accept.
The public financing system that was put in place to protect us against million dollars of corruption.
Now we're in that setting where billions of dollars are being.
Provided to get access whether it's on the conservative side of the liberal side.
Common cause thinks the president ought to pay attention.
To leaving a legacy for the next president.
Let's not have our next president regardless of party have to spend too.
Or 300 days -- 400 days raising a billion dollars or two billion dollars to get reelected -- let's focus on.
Getting the job done and be president well and there are lots of organizations that lots of organizations.
That can support the president's agenda I don't think simply asking wealthy donors to step up and.
Bundle 500000 dollar components -- -- four separate access opportunities.
To the White House.
Rights can be quarterly meetings according to times report that you get with the president for the 500000 dollar donation.
I mean they of course say that that is promoting the president's agenda that's how they're gonna that's how they're gonna get things done is that by the script but I want to ask you this.
Do you think that this is a violation of what President Obama promised.
He would do and how he would be as president because this quote from then Senator Obama from 2007.
Is getting a fair amount of attention listen.
They write the checks you.
You get stuck with the bill.
They get the access -- you get to write a letter.
They think they all this government.
But were here today to take it back.
-- -- -- I want President Obama to listen to his own words.
I want him to focus on average ordinary citizens.
You know this is dangerous moment for democracy.
We solve all the super pacs and on the right -- on the left.
Billionaire stepping forward and plowing.
Millions and millions of dollars into the last presidential campaign some estimates are that it was seven billion dollars when you count.
The billion dollars from Obama the billion dollars from Romney.
That several billion dollars of super pac money plus all of the congressional races.
Money is dictating the outcome.
Corporations and large donors after the Citizens United decision.
Have plowed money -- to trying to buy their way into government I want the president to set a different standard.
I want him to step up and say -- We're going to we're gonna focus on reform we're gonna recognize that.
Average ordinary citizens need to be protected we're gonna fix the election process we're not gonna manipulate it to try to.
Three senior citizens and young -- and that high persons of color set out for I mean what do you mean I want that are -- on -- putting at this point.
That's right I want the president to listen prior to 08 he promised that while not taking the presidential public financing system.
That he would in fact fix it in the first four years that didn't happen.
He put -- -- and limits on how much corporate money and special interest money could be used for the inauguration and for that.
A Democratic Convention those limits were lifted.
Now that he's in his second term I would just like the White House and that.
Staff around the president.
To really shifted a different direction focus on reform.
Focus on reducing money and politics not putting.
Gasoline on the fire.
I know the White House has come -- is that look this other group that's run by Jim Messina and have our former campaign operation it is independent it is independent from.
The White House and I know you you command said that is quote.
Do you think we can trust the white house on this do you think that we can trust them that that -- and Jim Messina are not selling access to our president.
This organization is as independent as the super pacs for Romney and Obama during the last campaign.
If you believe that those independent super pacs were completely independent.
Then I think you'll probably.
Say well maybe this is independent it's hard to believe when.
Michelle Obama came out and endorsed it announcing this a great new initiative.
And then the New York Times the Los Angeles Times discovered that people who get a lot of money we'll have more access.
It sounds very much like a perpetual campaign.
As opposed to something that would be positive for our nation.
And I gotta say again you in your intro called us.
Liberal or left leaning -- ice -- on the New York Times.
-- common cause was founded by moderate Republicans.
And those moderate Republicans in 197.
I think I got -- John Gardner.
-- -- were coming up against the heart rate that I care about you is that as a leading liberal group revenue or has it right affidavit Bob thank you so much you've given Gupta both sides of this issue appreciate you being not.