Obama Inaugural Committee Helps With Clinton Debt, Too

By Lindsey Ellerson

Jan 7, 2009 4:40pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports: We reported last month on how the Clinton Foundation, among other groups, was helping retire Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign debt by selling access to her e-mail list. Now — just days before Clinton’s confirmation hearings for secretary of state — President-elect Barack Obama’s inaugural committee is helping out, too. The Presidential Inaugural Committee today sent an e-mail to HillaryClinton.com supporters asking for donations to the committee. The e-mail touts a lottery that will allow a small group of supporters to watch Obama’s swearing-in. The e-mail was signed by former President Bill Clinton, who is one of the honorary co-chairmen of the inaugural committee. The committee is being funded through private donations. “It’s going to be a remarkable moment when [Obama] takes the oath of office, a moment for America to come together and begin our journey down a new path," the former president writes.  "I know how much I’m looking forward to this great event, and I hope you will take advantage of this special opportunity to watch Barack Obama and Joe Biden become President and Vice-President of the United States. “The Inaugural Committee will select 10 supporters and their guests to travel to Washington and watch as the new president is sworn in," the email adds.  "If you contribute $5 or more to the Inaugural Committee today, you could be selected as one of 10 supporters and their guests who will travel to Washington and participate in this historic Inauguration, as well as attend the welcome ceremony, the parade and an official Inaugural Ball.” No word yet from the inaugural committee or the Clinton political team on how much it cost the committee to buy access to Clinton’s e-mail list. The figure will have to be reported later this month. Several outside consultants have told ABC News that buying the right to a list of Clinton’s fundraising potential and size — well into the millions of solid Democrats — would easily run into the six figures. Sen. Clinton’s aides have described the rental of access to her voter-contact information as a smart business decision based on her unique circumstances. As of her most recent federal filing, she was carrying a campaign debt of $6.3 million. She’ll be prohibited from holding political events after she’s confirmed as secretary of state, making it difficult to pay vendors the money they’re owed. The Clinton Foundation sent a fundraising pitch — signed by Chelsea Clinton — to the HillaryClinton.com community last month. And the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America sent a membership pitch — signed by former Clinton aide James Carville — to Sen. Clinton’s list as well. A Clinton political aide confirmed that a similar arrangement was reached with the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

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