Deputy White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer provided this response to Wednesday's Washington Times report on efforts by President Obama and the Democratic National Committee to court and reward his largest donors and fundraisers:
"President Obama has opened the doors of the White House to hundreds of thousands of Americans since the administration began, and for the first time in history, records detailing who visited the White House will be made public on a regular basis," Mr. Pfeiffer wrote in an e-mail.
"Many of the people mentioned in this story have been friends and associates of the Obamas for decades - including college roommates and family friends whose relationships predate and are separate from the President's career in public service. Given that nearly 4 million Americans donated to the campaign, it's no surprise that some who contributed have visited the White House, as have grass-roots organizers who didn't contribute financial support and people who actively opposed the President's candidacy," he said.
"As part of an effort to open up events at the White House to thousands of Americans, we have at times provided tickets to events to the DNC, among many other organizations. Our understanding is that those tickets have in turn been distributed to grass-roots supporters, contributors and elected officials. Contributing does not guarantee a ticket to the White House, nor does it prohibit the contributor from visiting.
"This Administration has across the board set the toughest ethics standards in history. As a result, we have reduced special-interest influence over the policymaking process to promote merit-based decision-making. We believe that is due in no small part to our insistence on strict adherence to the rules - an approach we intend to continue."