To the big donors who financed President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, the decision to make his chief fundraiser the gatekeeper for White House social events is a promise of access to come.
To good government groups, it’s a cue to start checking on who’s sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom.
The White House staunchly denies Julianna Smoot’s new role as social secretary will bear any connection to her Rolodex. “I’ve got bad news for donors who think that this changes how people get into the White House or who gets into the White House,” press secretary Robert Gibbs told POLITICO, noting that Obama is the first president to release lists of White House visitors. “Being a donor does not guarantee you access to this place, nor does it preclude you from having access to events.”
Smoot, Gibbs said, sees her role as continuing to make the White House the “people’s house.”
But Obama’s decision to make a hire that cuts so sharply across his message of change and of, specifically, ending the old Washington exchange of money and access, has puzzled some allies.
Read More: By BEN SMITH, Politico