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The haute couture money-grubber

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 7, 2012 10:56 AM

The People’s President is raising money any way he can — and the fashion world’s 1 percent-ers have stepped up to the plate to help.

Via the WSJ:

At a New York fund-raising event Tuesday called “Runway to Win,” President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign plans to begin selling campaign-themed tote bags, T-shirts and accessories designed by more than two dozen famous designers.

Attendees can purchase a tote bag designed by Derek Lam for $75. A collectible makeup bag created by Richard Blanch with nail polish in Red-y To Win Red, Victory White and Bo Blue is going for $40. And a silk scarf featuring Mr. Obama’s likeness by Thakoon Panichgul is $95. Profits from the sales will go to Mr. Obama’s campaign chest.

Republicans are rightly raising campaign finance questions about the haute couture deals:

“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.

Jan Baran, an election lawyer with Wiley Rein LLP, said designers can’t ask employees to work on political projects unless they willingly volunteered their time. “Someone who is paid to do campaign work is not a volunteer,” he said. If the designer or staff are paid by anyone other than the campaign, it would be considered a campaign contribution from a company to a candidate.

The Obama campaign said the gear complies with campaign-finance rules.

“All of the designers volunteered their personal time to create these great designs,” the campaign said, and were “not underwritten with any corporate funds.”

Rap mogul and designer Russell Simmons is defending Obama’s By Any Technically Legal Means Necessary strategy:

Asked on CNN whether selling designer products could violate campaign finance rules – as some Republicans have suggested – Simmons said, “I think the president should use whatever resources he has within the law.”

“The problem is the law the problem is that we allow so much money in politics and there are so many people funding these super PACs that are out of control,” he added. “Until the laws are changed, the president should play by any rules available.”

Question: How much would you pay for this???

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I’ll have pleeenty to say about Obama’s SuperPAC super-hypocrisy tomorrow.

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