“Dinner with Barack” may be free to enter and win, but the actual prize could cost the winner several hundred dollars.
“This is not a free dinner,” William Jacobson, an associate professor at Cornell Law School, told The Daily Caller. “There’s no such thing as a free dinner with Obama.”
Jacobson previously blogged about low-dollar raffles operated by the Obama campaign that offered supporters a chance to dine with Obama in exchange for a $3 or $5 donation.
The “free” dinner, however, really caught Jacobson’s eye after he spotted an ad on The New York Times’ website that claimed, “we’ll cover your airfare.”
“[N]o purchase, payment, or contribution necessary to enter or win,” said the contest.
However, upon further inspection, Jacobson noticed a statement in the fine print informing entrants that the “approximate retail value of all prizes [is] $4,800.”
According to Jacobson, taxes associated with airfare and the prize itself could reach several hundred dollars.
“Portraying it as costing three or five dollars is somewhat misleading because it will cost you several hundred dollars,” Jacobson said.
Other Internet outlets have attempted to put a price tag on exactly how much the trip would cost winners, but Jacobson said he could not be sure of the total amount.
Internal Revenue Service spokesman Grant Williams declined to comment about the specific case when reached for comment by TheDC.
The Obama campaign has not returned a request for comment.