Comments from President Obama’s top spokesmen are coming back to haunt the White House Democratic strategists who announced Friday the formation of new groups to help re-elect the president without disclosing donors, a tactic Obama and other Democrats decried just months ago.
In October 2010, White House spokesman Bill Burton insisted that the president’s disagreement with the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations to spend unlimited and undisclosed amounts on campaign speech was a principled one, calling the tactic “shadowy activity.”
“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,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said during a meeting with reporters on Air Force One on October 15. “And the president thinks that if you’re going to participate in politics, you ought to be transparent about it.”
With the new freedom granted after last year’s Supreme Court decision, Republican groups raised millions of dollars in support of candidates without disclosing donors despite an unsuccessful attempt to stop it in Congress before the November elections.
A spokesman for the new Democratic group, which plans to raise as much as $100 million for Obama’s re-election campaign without disclosing donors, said that Democrats “won’t be boxed in by a double standard.”
This despite Burton saying last year that the “president is committed to making sure that we have a political system where folks are being transparent.”
Crossroads GPS, one of the Republican groups launched after the Citizens United ruling, called the announcement of the new Democratic groups “brazen hypocrisy.”
“Last year, Obama’s White House and hard left allies launched a coordinated PR and legal assault on non-disclosing conservative groups – and now, just six months later, Obama’s own political operatives are launching the very type of groups they demagogued as ‘shadowy threats to democracy,'” said Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio.”Obama’s brazen hypocrisy, in encouraging his own operatives to start groups exactly like the ones he demagogued last year, shows how cynical this President can be when it comes to perpetuating his own power.”