By Justin Sink - 03/13/13 02:49 PM EDT
The ad plays off a comment by White House press secretary Jay Carney, who called Organizing for Action — the nonprofit group headed by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina — "perfectly appropriate" in a briefing with reporters earlier this month.
"Any notion that there's a price for meeting with the president is simply wrong," Carney said, adding that "the bottom line here is that this is a separate organization, as we've noted, the existence of which is perfectly appropriate. And the White House will engage with it consistent with the way we engage with a whole host of other outside constituencies."
"Texting during dinner? Inappropriate," the ad's narrator says. "Selling access to the president for $500,000? Perfectly appropriate."
The New York Times reported earlier this month that donors who gave a half million dollars to the Obama organization had been promised quarterly briefings from the president, and independent watchdog groups subsequently questioned the ethical implications of OFA. But both Messina and Carney later insisted that no such promises had been made and that the group was fully disclosing all donors.
"Whether you're a volunteer or a donor, we can't and we won't guarantee access to any government officials," Messina wrote in an op-ed earlier this month. "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."
The ad goes on to label the Obama group "Organizing for Access" and highlights instances where Obama donors had received benefits, like ambassadorships, after donating to his campaign.
The video was released ahead of Obama's scheduled visit to the group's "founder's summit" on Wednesday evening.