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Messina: Obama may meet with OFA donors amid controversy

Former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said Friday that President Obama may meet as soon as next week with donors to the nonprofit group that has sprouted from the remnants of his reelection campaign. 

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The possible meeting comes as watchdog groups and Republicans have accused the White House of selling access to the president through the outside group, Organizing for Action (OFA), which accepts unlimited individual donations.

"There will be events where our supporters are briefed about what the president is doing, but look, the president has laid out a very clear agenda. This organization's only goal is to help the president lay out that agenda," Messina told CBS News on Friday.

Asked specifically if the president would attend a "founder's summit" next week in Washington, Messina responded, "We'll see."

"The president will do what he did during the campaign, which is communicate to his grassroots supporters and ask for their help," Messina said.

The former Obama campaign manager did rule out the possibility of Organizing for Action donors meeting with the president at the White House itself. He also stressed that the organization would fully disclose its donors.

"We're going to disclose every single contribution we get, be as transparent as possible," Messina said.

And in an op-ed published Thursday, Messina said the organization would not accept corporate donations. In the same piece, he stressed that the group could not guarantee access to White House officials.

"Whether you're a volunteer or a donor, we can't and we won't guarantee access to any government officials," he wrote. "But just as the president and administration officials deliver updates on the legislative process to Americans and organizations across the ideological spectrum, there may be occasions when members of Organizing for Action are included in those updates. These are not opportunities to lobby — they are briefings on the positions the president has taken and the status of seeing them through."

Last week, White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted there was "no set price" for access to the president amid pressure from nonpartisan watchdog groups like Common Cause that had questioned whether OFA was enabling influence peddling.

"The White House sets the president's schedule. And there is no price to meet with the president," Carney said.

But the press secretary left the window open for regular meetings between the president and donors to the organization. 

"As you know, Organizing for Action was set up to promote the president's public policy agenda. Therefore, as anyone would expect, the president would likely meet with their representatives to discuss his agenda," Carney said. "But again, any notion that there's a price for meeting with the president is simply wrong."