Open Thread: Does New Obama Campaign Video Violate FEC Laws?

As pointed out by National Review's Jim Geraghty, a new campaign video for President Barack Obama's $5 raffle dinner was filmed in the White House, which could violate FEC campaign finance laws.

Check out the video after the break, and let us know what you think in the comments.

The video in question has the same White House backdrop as this weekly address, and as a fundraising effort set inside the White House, might infringe on campaign financing laws outlined by the FEC.

According to Alexis Simendinger of RealClearPolitics, White House officials say the ad is not in violation of FEC rules, though, making three arguments in Obama's favor, and comparing Obama's ad to ads by former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush:

First, they said, an open process for small donors to essentially win a raffle is not the kind of fundraising prohibited under the law -- and the president didn't make a direct appeal for donations, anyway. Second, they pointed to a longstanding advisory opinion from the Justice Department that differentiates between the residence portion of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. -- where the aide said Obama had been filmed -- and official rooms in the White House. Third, they said, Obama's approach is in keeping with the practices of his predecessors.

"It's no different than what happened under eight years of George Bush and eight years of Bill Clinton," the official explained, speaking on background.

This assertion appears to be half-true. Although the news accounts cited by White House officials do show that George W. Bush filmed political ads in the White House, they were not overt fundraising efforts. But directly raising money in the White House was indeed the context of the bitter controversy President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore provoked in 1995 and 1996 by aggressively raising millions of dollars in campaign funds during activities expressly designed to use the White House as a hook to attract donor interest.

Do you think Obama's video violates FEC rules? Or do you think it falls in line with advertisements by previous presidents?

NB Staff
NB Staff