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Obama signs off on Super PAC donation encouragement

 

President Obama personally signed off on his campaign's decision to actively encourage donations to Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA, according to senior campaign officials who spoke on a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning.

But an official would not characterize the tone of Obama's agreement to back a policy that is at odds with his previous vocal opposition to the Citizens United decision that allows Super PACs to solicit unlimited donations.  

Conversations among top advisers about the need to "lend support" to the outside fundraising effort have been going on for "weeks," and the decision was made after a review of FEC filings from the Super PAC committees supporting the GOP presidential candidates, officials said. 

As a result of the decision, some White House officials, campaign aides, and cabinet members will appear at Priorities USA events to "amplify [Obama's] message" but will not directly solicit donations. The president, First Lady, and vice president will not attend any Priorities USA events, however. 

The campaign said Tuesday that it will not encourage donations to a related 501(c)4 organization that does not disclose its donors to the FEC as the Priorities USA SuperPAC will. 

The reversal opens Obama -- who has long bemoaned the influx of money into the political process -- to accusations of hypocrisy as his campaign now hopes to lure big donors to the fundraising body founded by former White House aide Bill Burton. 

Officials maintain that the decision "not to unilaterally disarm" by rejecting Super PACs is simply a response to the millions expected to be spent by GOP interests to fight Obama's re-election. 

"We can't afford hundreds of millions of dollars by corporate special interests on the air drowning out our message, while we're fighting hand-to-hand on the ground," said one official.