TODAY   |  March 08, 2013

Obama criticized for ties to lucrative nonprofit

Critics are outraged that a nonprofit group called Organizing for Action could be offering quarterly meetings with the President Obama to wealthy donors. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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>> raising new questions this morning about an advocacy group pushing president obama 's agenda. are wealthy donors being promised special access to the president? nbc's chief white house correspondent chuck todd is at the white house for us. chuck, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, lester. when it comes to barack obama 's views on money and politics, his actions have rarely matched his words. with word that he wants to keep his political machine alive, how he plans on going about raising money for that group is coming under new scrutiny. when it comes to big money in politics, president obama has often talked the talk.

>> if your voices aren't heard, then the lobbyists and special interests don't fill the void.

>> reporter: to quit the public financing system, raising and spending unlimited amounts of money, leading to the two most expensive elections in history. in 2010 , he lectured the supreme court over its citizens united decisions.

>> reversed a century of law that i believed will open the flood gates for special interests . including foreign corporations to spend without limit in our elections.

>> reporter: but in 2012 , face ed with millions of dollars of unlimited republican super pac money , the obama campaign decided to get into the super pac game.

>> we had to make an adjustment.

>> reporter: now mr. obama is keeping his campaign machine alive with a nonprofit group , organizing for action, headed by former campaign manager jim messina . trumpeted as a grassroots effort, the money behind it could be anything but. adding fuel to the fire , report that is organizationer organizers are considering giving quarterly meetings with president obama , a practice candidate obama once criticized.

>> even if they're not asking for a quid pro quo , it means the people who ayou are meeting with are not struggling.

>> reporter: insisting they will not have influence, writing these are not opportunities to lobby. they are briefing on the position the president has taken and the status of seeing them through. but government watchdogs are skeptical.

>> it is a vehicle that will allow big donors to buy corrupting influence with the administration. president obama ought to shut down this organization promptly.

>> the other issue here, lester, that watchdog groups say, he's exasperating an already bad system and an ends justifies the