Former democratic congressman Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Ted Kennedy, gave a curious explanation as to how to best access the White House (and all of the favors that accompany it) in a recent New York Times article.
The former Representative from Rhode Island donated $35,800 to Obama's reelection campaign, while seeking administrative support for a nonprofit he was involved with.
Such contributions are simply a part of “how this business works,” he said. "If you want to call it ‘quid pro quo,’ fine...At the end of the day, I want to make sure I do my part.”
While Kennedy's name already makes him an influential figure, he clarified: "I know that they look at the reports [of contributions]...They’re my friends anyway, but it won’t hurt when I ask them for a favor if they don’t see me as a slouch.”
Elaborating, the Times reveals:
More broadly, the review showed that those who donated the most to Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party since he started running for president were far more likely to visit the White House than others. Among donors who gave $30,000 or less, about 20 percent visited the White House, according to a New York Times analysis that matched names in the visitor logs with donor records. But among those who donated $100,000 or more, the figure rises to about 75 percent. Approximately two-thirds of the president’s top fund-raisers in the 2008 campaign visited the White House at least once, some of them numerous times.
Although those in office invariably deny it, the notion that access is available at a price is a well-founded reality of Washington. Memorably, President Nixon was caught on tape remarking that $250,000 should be the minimum donation for an ambassadorship. The Clinton White House offered major donors coffees with the president or sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom. More recently, Republicans in Congress have raised questions about whether Democratic donors who invested in the solar energy company Solyndra and other troubled firms influenced the administration’s support of those businesses, pointing to White House visits and other official contacts...
White House spokesman Eric Shultz denies allegations of wrongdoing, commenting: “being a supporter of the president does not secure you a visit to the White House, nor does it preclude you from one.”