White House: Obama 'position on disclosure remains the same'

President Obama still believes outside political groups should disclose their sources of funding, despite the launching of a new group by former aides to the president that will accept unlimited, undisclosed donations. 

White House press secretary Jay Carney said that Obama believes political groups on the left and right should disclose their donors.

“The president’s position on disclosure remains the same," Carney said during a gaggle aboard Air Force One.

ADVERTISEMENT
Obama is likely to benefit from the establishment of Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, a pair of groups co-founded by former deputy press secretary Bill Burton that will collect unlimited sums to benefit Obama's reelection and Democrats in House and Senate races.

"We don’t control outside groups," Carney said. “These are not people working for the administration.”

Priorities USA Action will be able to take advantage of loopholes in campaign finance law to collect undisclosed and unlimited donations to help Democrats, and a spate of other groups on the left are set to do the same — in part to combat the effectiveness of the conservative groups during the last election.

American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS spent tens of millions against Democrats in the midterm elections, and are set to reprise their role in the 2012 election. 

Obama vocally criticized Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the weeks before the midterm election, accusing them of possibly accepting contributions from foreign sources to fund their political attacks, which would violate election law. (Both groups vehemently denied Obama's allegations.)

As a spokesman for the White House, Burton also harshly criticized the two groups. 

"Unless a bright light is shined on the shadowy activity of these outside groups, people aren’t going to know the facts, which is that with their complete lack of transparency, lord knows who’s participated in these races. And the president thinks that if you’re going to participate in politics, you ought to be transparent about it," Burton said in a press gaggle last October.

Crossroads and Republicans on Capitol Hill are now gleefully highlighting the past criticism by Obama and Burton, and accuse the White House of hypocrisy. 

Liberal firebrand former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) criticized the new liberal groups in a statement Friday and accused them of embracing a "fundamentally corrupt strategy." 

“Democrats who mirror the right-wing tactics of Karl Rove and David Koch do our nation no favors. Our democracy is best served by rejecting the fundamentally corrupt strategy of embracing unlimited corporate influence.” 

Updated at 3:09 p.m. Daniel Strauss contributed.

More in News

White House: CIA chief a 'professional and patriot'

Read more »