Obama Rewards Big Donors

National Journal has the latest from Mr. Clean:

A total of 552 individuals have bundled $50,000 or more for Obama, and 36 individuals and couples bundled $500,000 or more so far, according to the watchdog group Public Citizen. All the attention lavished on the high rollers raises questions among watchdogs about what donors might get in return for their fundraising efforts.

“Receptions and prime seats at convention halls are one thing, but you wonder if these people [would be] first in line for ambassadorships, positions on regulatory boards, and other paybacks in an Obama administration,” said Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics.

Among the special events this week for bundlers: a kick-off party on Sunday afternoon at the Blue Sky Grill in the Pepsi Center; a reception today with Democratic Party officials at Earls restaurant; a Tuesday afternoon lunch at the Palm, followed by an after-hours party on Tuesday at Lola; and a Wednesday morning briefing with a senior Obama strategist at the Ellie Caukins Opera House.

After Biden’s speech on Wednesday night, bundlers are invited to an hour-long reception with the vice presidential candidate in a private room in the Pepsi Center, and then on Thursday morning, Barack and Michelle Obama are hosting a breakfast at the Hyatt Regency. After Obama’s acceptance speech, he is scheduled to mingle with bundlers at a private lounge inside Invesco Field.

Barack Obama’s campaign used to be founded on a range of fictions: that he was a moderate, that he was a ‘different kind’ of candidate, that he was the best candidate to work in a bipartisan way to change Washington, and that he was unbeholden to special interests. Each of those campaign pitches has been demonstrated to be false as the campaign has played out. And now, when he reaches the summit and accepts the party’s presidential nomination, the first thing Barack Obama will do is retreat to a smoke-filled room to hobnob with the wealthiest and most powerful Democratic insiders. The imagery is stunning.