Obama Political Campaign Filmed Two Videos of President in the White House

June 29, 2011 - 5:54 AM

White House

The White House at sun-up on the Obama presidency, Jan. 21, 2009. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – White House visitor logs reveal that President Obama’s political organization, Obama for America, filmed two campaign videos featuring the president--inside the White House.

Federal law prohibits fundraising by the president in offices used for official business. The White House contends that the mansion’s residential areas do not fall under this prohibition, pointing out that presidents have used the White House for fundraising before without violating the law.

According to the logs, two “OFA Taping[s]” were conducted in November 2010, in the White House Map Room--in the residential area of the mansion. The tapings happened before Obama announced his candidacy for reelection.

OFA is the abbreviation for Obama for America, the official name of the president’s campaign. While he was not officially a candidate for reelection when the tapings were made in November, Obama has maintained his political operation throughout his presidency.

The tapings were conducted on November 1 and November 3, 2010 in the Map Room. The logs indicate that the meetings were scheduled to be with “POTUS” (President of the United States).
The Map Room, currently used as a private meeting room, also has been used for official business. On June 13, Obama used the room to record a video announcing his Campaign to Cut Waste – an effort to eliminate wasteful spending in government.

According to federal law, “It shall be unlawful for an individual who is an officer or employee of the Federal Government, including the President, Vice President, and Members of Congress, to solicit or receive a donation of money or other thing of value in connection with a Federal, State, or local election, while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties.” (Title 18, subsection 607 U.S.C.)

According to background information provided by the White House, President George W. Bush also filmed part of a campaign ad in the residential portion of the White House. President Bush also used a picture of himself in the Oval Office in a fundraising email from the RNC.

Recently, OFA released a video message from Obama announcing that Vice President Joe Biden had been added to a contest for donors to have dinner with the President. That video also was filmed in the Map Room.

In that video, first reported by CNSNews.com, Obama asked supporters to participate in a raffle for the dinner. The raffle is part of an OFA fundraising drive, and supporters who give to the president’s campaign can enter to win the dinner with Obama and Biden.

While the videos are not illegal – presidents have often used the White House as a setting for political material – they do show Obama continuing a controversial practice of using the White House to raise campaign funds as well as for other political functions.

The White House did not respond to CNSNews.com’s request for explanation of the two OFA tapings.