Rogers is a longtime Obama friend who contributed $50,000 in January — nearly all the money the super PAC collected the entire month. Rogers was selected by the administration in October 2010 to head a financial advisory council, and visited the White House more than two dozen times since Obama took office, including one-on-one meetings with former chief of staff William Daley and Jarrett, Obama's senior adviser.
Two weeks before Rogers' contribution in January, Obama's campaign paid his firm, Ariel Investments, $600 for "event site rental," according to finance reports. An Obama campaign spokeswoman said the event was for a campaign retreat; a spokeswoman for Rogers did not respond to repeated phone calls and emails from the AP seeking comment.
Other donors who visited the White House, either before they gave money to support Obama or afterward, include:
—Lenny Mendonca, a director of consulting firm McKinsey & Co., gave $50,000 to Priorities USA Action in November 2011, according to records submitted to the Federal Election Commission. Visitor logs showed Mendonca met in June 2011 with Carl Shapiro, one of Obama's top economic advisers, and three months earlier with Melody Barnes, then the president's chief domestic policy advisor.
—Orin Kramer, a key Obama fundraiser who gave $15,000 to Priorities USA in October, attended White House events with Obama at least five times, according to visitor logs, plus his invitation to a state dinner March 14 honoring Britain's Cameron. His other visits included a smaller gathering in March 2011 that was described as a presidential meeting but records offered few details.
—Spielberg, another Obama supporter, donated $100,000 last July to Priorities USA — one of the group's largest individual contributions. One month later, Spielberg attended a Rose Garden event with the president. He also has visited the White House at least three other times, including in March 2010 to screen a movie for the president and first lady Michelle Obama.
Through a spokeswoman, Mendonca declined to comment. Kramer told the AP the information obtained from the Obama administration was "completely inaccurate," but did not deny he has visited the White House. "I help candidates because I think election outcomes matter," Kramer said in an email.
The AP's review excluded visits like White House tours available to the general public.
A White House spokesman did not fully respond to repeated requests from the AP for details of visits by Obama's campaign donors, saying it was impractical to do so. A campaign spokesman did not respond to requests seeking comment Monday.
The revelations of Obama's donor-visitors brought renewed criticism Monday from the Republican National Committee: "President Obama promised he would be different — that he wouldn't give special access to his campaign supporters and donors," RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski told the AP. "But now it's clear it's politics as usual in the Obama White House."
Obama so far has raised more than $120 million for his re-election effort — not counting millions more from the Democratic Party — an outsized figure compared with potential GOP rivals like Romney, who collected $74 million in checks through the end of February. That calculus may change as wealthy billionaires who have supported their favorite candidates this primary season may rally around the eventual Republican nominee.
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