The fact this woman has already been fired should have sirens flashing all over the media, if they’re interested. Let’s see, a top political fundraiser working for Obama’s Organizing for Action is caught red-handed trying to elicit a $100,000 donation while promising access to the president’s inner circle. Yup, it sure reeks of scandal.
Organizing for Action is revamping its fundraising practices and fired a fundraiser amid questions about whether the group was promising access to Obama administration officials in exchange for donations.
Samantha Maltzman, a top fundraiser for the Democratic group with strong ties to President Obama, resigned from the organization after NBC News obtained emails between her and Dr. Munr Kazmir, a New Jersey businessman, explicitly listing prices to attend a summit last week with the president.
The emails conflicted with a pledge by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, who wrote in an op-ed last year that “we can’t and we won’t guarantee access to any government officials.”
While Kazmir ultimately did not donate to the group, the NBC News investigation revealed he did attempt to deliver a $100,000 donation from a New Jersey physician, Dr. Joseph Piacentile.
Maltzman returned the check because Piacentile has been convicted of Medicare fraud, but asked Kazmir to have him donate the money instead to America Votes, a partner organization that unlike OFA does not disclose its donors.
OFA officials speaking anonymously to NBC said that the donation was the third time that the group had asked large donations to be diverted to other progressive groups.
OFA director Jon Carson also arranged for Kazmir to meet with White House aide Yohannes Abraham, the chief of staff of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Ashley Green, who works on international education issues at the Agency for International Development.
Kazmir was reportedly seeking relief from a court judgment for failure to make payments on a $2.5 million loan to launch an American school in Pakistan.
White House officials told NBC that Abraham attended the meeting at a nearby coffee shop, but said he felt “uncomfortable” and “immediately extricated himself.” OFA officials stressed that Carson did not lobby on Kazmir’s behalf, and noted that the administration did not help him obtain relief from the judgment.
Michael Isikoff is reporting this for NBC.
In an interview with NBC News, Kazmir said he believed Maltzman was being unfairly blamed because, he said, Carson was directly involved in soliciting the cash that came from Dr. Piacentile.
“They are throwing her under the bus,” said Kazmir. “They are covering up, Carson knew everything .”
Kazmir also said he got repeated phone calls and text messages from Maltzman about making a donation to OFA that he originally discussed with Carson over lunch in December. “They kept asking me, where is the money?” he said.
Hard to believe a group created by Obama would be so shady, huh?