At the “Runway to Win” fund-raiser for incumbent presidential candidate President Barack Obama scheduled for this Tuesday, the re-election will be selling tote bags, T-shirts and other accessories emblazoned with the latest brand, ”Obama for President.”
Below Market Value
These items were created by some of the world’s most sought-after designers, Republicans are arguing that the cost of the items to the Democratic supporters of Obama are way below their true market value, and therefore question whether their sale, whose proceeds go to support Obama’s re-election, constitute a violation of campaign finance rules.
A tote bag designed by Derek Lam will be on sale for only $75; a collectible makeup clutch produced by Richard Blanch, including nail polish in Red-y to Win Red will be sold for only $40; and a silk scarf designed by Thakoon Panichgul featuring Obama’s punim is on sale for a mere $95.
Illegal Campaign Contributions?
Because these prices are a fraction of the usual prices these designers take for their wares suggests to the Republicans that they relied on corporate resources to keep down the costs, an activity that might be the equivalent of an illegal campaign contribution. As proof of the price discrepancy the Republicans site Mr. Lam’s website where handbags can cost anywhere from $340 to $1,890 and three scarves for sale on Mr. Thakoon’s website go for $325 each.
“This raises serious questions about whether corporate money, property and employees were improperly used in the design and production of these items without reimbursement,” said Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
The Obama campaign answered the accusation, saying the merchandise is consistent with the rules of campaign finance.
“All of the designers volunteered their personal time to create these great designs,” the campaign said, and was “not underwritten with any corporate funds.”