DC Trawler

Dinner with Barack is on you

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If you’re reading this, that means you have an Internet connection, which means you’ve seen the ads for “Dinner with Barack”:

Wow, a chance to bask in Obama’s glory and free airfare? If you’re a fan of Obama — and, incredibly, some still are — this seems like a great deal.

But as with everything else Obama says and does, you’re not really getting the whole story. William Jacobson took a closer look:

…I noticed this “fine print” talking about “retail value” of the packages. Hmm, that sounded like the game show prizes, which are taxable:

Then the Dinner sweepstakes rules were even more clear that this might be taxable and that taxes are the responsibility of the winner:

And sure enough, the IRS treats such prizes as taxable ordinary income…

With airfare, the retail value of each “prize” is $1,600. And the three “lucky” “winners” will be on the hook for any taxes. Paul Caron, aka TaxProf, points out that this will be $560 at the 35% rate.

That’s the Obama administration in a nutshell: Handing out “prizes” that only end up costing you.

But even if you’re not one of those three fortunate acolytes, you can still do your part. Neil Munro reports:

President Barack Obama is so short of campaign cash that he’s asking for a percentage of your wedding, birthday and anniversary gifts — but the visitors to his fundraising site are leaving contempt, jibes and scorn, plus a few declarations of embarrassment…

The gift-grab was posted on Obama’s website on Thursday. The pitch reads:

Got a birthday, anniversary, or wedding coming up?

Let your friends know how important this election is to you — register with Obama 2012, and ask for a donation in lieu of a gift. It’s a great way to support the President on your big day. Plus, it’s a gift that we can all appreciate—and goes a lot further than a gravy bowl.

Setting up and sharing your registry page is easy—so get started today…

“Is this what the office of the president of the United States has come to? Pandering for wedding and birthday money?” read a post by Richard Henkle.

“Who is his campaign manager? Mel Brooks? This is better than ‘The Producers,’” wrote Margaret Grimm Blakckwell…

A few commentators seemed to be Democrats, and professed embarrassment.

“This is very wrong,” said a commenter named James Kendall. “Obama should be notified of this and if he supports it — he has lost my support… Whoever came up with this idea and approved it should be fired.”

November 6, 2012.

P.S. You might want to take some Dramamine before you click this. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…