THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS


President Obama has set out on a dangerous and unprecedented path as he begins his second term in office.

The president and his political allies are creating a section 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization, Organizing for Action. It will be governed and run by some of the president's closest political operatives.

The new organization has the stated purpose of advocating the president's agenda and will accept unlimited contributions from corporations and individuals to pursue this goal. As far as I know, this is the first time a president has outsourced an important responsibility of his presidency to a private sector organization that is financed by unlimited private funds and that is, in effect, operating as an arm of the presidency.

In taking this step, the president has opted for "the ends justify the means" approach that is fraught with danger. It opens the door to opportunities for government corruption, by allowing corporations and individuals to provide unlimited amounts of money to directly benefit the president's interests and potentially to receive government benefits and favors in return.

This action by the president also represents the last stage in an apparent remarkable transformation in President Obama's views regarding the role of corporate money in the American political process.

Following the Supreme Court's disastrous decision in the Citizen United case that overturned the longstanding federal prohibition on corporate spending to influence federal campaigns, President Obama aptly stated:

"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans."

In making this statement, President Obama clearly recognized the dangers of allowing corporations to use their funds to buy influence over government decisions and federal officeholders.

But now with his decision to allow corporations to fund the new organization that will operate as an arm of his presidency, President Obama "has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money" to directly benefit his presidency. And the president has provided a "major" opportunity for "big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and other powerful interests" to provide direct financial resources to support the president's interests.