Politico has it:
“I’m sure they have their political reasons for doing that, but I think it’s not what quote, hospitality, unquote is all about,” said Letitia Baldrige, who headed Jacqueline Kennedy’s White House staff in the early 1960s. “We’ve got to relax about this. To have people to the White House and worry about the price of things is laughable.”
“I don’t know what the menu was, but I’m sure it wasn’t braised pheasant,” she said.
The White House did not say what was served for lunch or how much the attendees were charged. A spokeswoman said White House staff collected the credit card numbers separately from the event.
Maybe they’re trying to make up for the ‘Cash for clunkers’ fiasco, where a $1 billion was set aside, and pfft, it’s now gone.
Politico.com reports that the White House frequently asks for credit-card numbers from corporate CEOs who visit the White House so they can be billed for the cost of their lunch or other meals there when they meet with Mr. Obama.
”From time to time, White House guests are asked to reimburse for their meals, the reasons include ensuring there is no conflict or appearance of a conflict,” says White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “That is consistent with our tough ethics rules and we will continue the practice when appropriate.”
Indeed, in previous administrations any meals offered guests were covered by official entertainment expense accounts provided for the president’s use. The fussiness of Team Obama also strikes political observers as inconsistent. “It may look good to hit CEOs up for meals, but it’s all for show,” one Democratic consultant told me. “Somehow I doubt that union leaders who show up at the White House are similarly asked to cough up dough for what they consume.”
They probably get free meals and 25 DVDs instead.
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