WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is using privileged access to one of America’s greatest landmarks to reward his most generous financial supporters in ways that Republicans Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum can’t match: More than 60 of Obama’s biggest campaign donors have visited the White House more than once for meetings with top advisers, holiday parties or state dinners, a review by The Associated Press has found.
The invitations to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., which are a legal and established practice by presidents, came despite Obama’s past criticisms of Washington’s pay-for-access privileges and mark a reversal from early in the president’s term when donors complained he was keeping them at arm’s length.
As a presidential candidate running against Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama’s campaign noted that Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had invited David Geffen — whom Obama’s campaign said had raised $18 million for the Clintons — to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom. The AP found no evidence of Obama’s own donors sleeping overnight in the White House, but timestamps showing arrivals and departures on the government’s logs are incomplete for more than 1.7 million records.
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