During the Democratic National Convention inside Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, members of the press have reportedly been using "fake names" in order to purchase official Obama merchandise, which is considered a campaign contribution.
During our travels around the arena, Politicker spotted a souvenir stand in one of the press stands selling T-shirts and buttons supporting President Barack Obama, “Democrats Are Hot” bumper stickers and other official Obama merchandise.
The souvenir stand was in a secure area only accessible to those with a media credential and buying campaign gear means contributing to the campaign, so we asked the woman working the cash register whether anyone at the press stand had been making purchases. Her answers were quite surprising.
The woman working at the souvenir stand told us she hadn’t been “too busy” during the day, but had seen business pick up in the past half hour or so. She then asked us whether we wanted to buy anything. When we informed her that our status as a reporter means we don’t buy campaign gear.
She reportedly went on to ask, "Have you ever thought of making up a fake name? That’s what the other guys do."
When you purchase official merchandise from the Obama campaign, it is the same as making a donation because the proceeds go towards his re-election bid. It is not illegal for members of the media to buy merchandise from or contribute to presidential campaigns, but it is certainly not encouraged.
In the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of barackobama.com, the campaign tells shoppers that a purchase is seen as a donation.
"Can I receive merchandise without making a donation?" one of the FAQs reads.
"The only way to receive items from the 2012 store is by contributing through the official store site at store.barackobama.com," the site reads.