RNC Asks Justice Department to Investigate Obama Campaign Video

The GOP says a video filmed in the White House violates campaign finance law

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The Republican National Committee has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether President Obama's reelection campaign broke campaign finance law for taping a video in the White House, The Hill's Alicia M. Cohn reports. RNC Chair Reince Priebus wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that it appears that Obama's appeal--urging donors to enter a drawing to win lunch with the president and Vice President Joe Biden--was filmed in the Map Room. Election law forbids asking for political donations in a place of government business.

Priebus notes that the room is the site of such official government work as when Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office to Obama. Priebus is not demanding a special counsel yet. The Wall Street Journal's Patrick O'Connor writes that Priebus "is trying to fan the flames of a controversy that has captured the attention of conservative activists, but not the general public." House oversight committee chair Darrell Issa has also questioned the legality of the video.
Last month, a White House official told Real Clear Politics' Alexis Simendinger that the video wasn't illegal, and offered three arguments:
First, they said, an open process for small donors to essentially win a raffle is not the kind of fundraising prohibited under the law--and the president didn't make a direct appeal for donations, anyway. Second, they pointed to a longstanding advisory opinion from the Justice Department that differentiates between the residence portion of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave--where the aide said Obama had been filmed--and official rooms in the White House. Third, they said, Obama's approach is in keeping with the practices of his predecessors.
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