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Oct 28, 2009 2:25 PM by Associated Press

Obama rewards donors with special access to White House

A report published today says President Barack Obama has rewarded top Democratic donors with a range of perks, including holiday visits to the White House and policy briefings.

The Washington Times says at least 39 Democratic donors and fundraisers attended White House events marking St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo as well as the Fourth of July. The paper says Democratic National Committee documents show the party has promised top fundraisers access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledging to donate or raising certain amounts.

While Obama promised to change how Washington works during his presidential campaign, such donor rewards carry on the practice of past presidents, both Democratic and Republican. The White House says being a contributor doesn't guarantee a ticket to the White House, but it also doesn't prohibit a person from visiting.

It adds that Obama has put tough ethical standards in place to reduce special-interest influence over policymaking.

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