President Obama's swing through California has been rife with star power: Movie mogul Tyler Perry hosted a Democratic National Committee fundraiser the president headlined Thursday night, which was attended by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and actress January Jones, among others.
But a dinner with famed director Steven Spielberg and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg didn't make the president's official schedule—and no one told the press.
It's typical for the president to meet with celebrities during Hollywood fundraising trips. However, the dinner was not on Obama's public schedule, and a source familiar with the dinner only confirmed it occurred after Spielberg and Katzenberg were seen leaving Obama's Beverly Hills hotel Thursday night, Deadline Hollywood reported.
The private dinner comes on the heels of another star-studded event the administration did not disclose to the press corps: A 500-person Prince and Stevie Wonder concert at the White House on Saturday. Despite a storm of questions Monday on the secrecy of the event, Press Secretary Josh Earnest did little more than confirm the concert.
"The president and first lady are going to reserve the right to host private parties at the White House," Earnest said. "And they did it on their own dime, and I think that's consistent with the kinds of values that they have talked about."
The secrecy is sharply at odds with the White House's claim that it's "the most transparent administration in history," and calls into question the level of access the press corps has to cover the chief executive.
And it's not the first time the press has faced this issue with Katzenberg. A 2013 dinner between Obama and the Democratic donor in Burbank, California, was similarly not included in the president's official schedule, therefore excluding reporters traveling with the pool. The White House later confirmed the meeting.
Obama will spend the rest of the week in California, speaking at the Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco on Friday. He'll also attend a private DNC roundtable and a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser hosted by billionaire climate-activist Tom Steyer. He's expected to spend the weekend in Southern California playing golf near Palm Springs.
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