Want to Meet President Obama in L.A.? DNC Holds Sweepstakes While Auction Plans Are Scrapped

Shonda Rhimes Dinner With Obama Auction
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee is holding a contest to win a trip to meet President Obama during his fundraising swing through Los Angeles on July 23, when he will attend a fundraiser at the home of “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes.

An e-mail announcing the sweepstakes went out on Tuesday afternoon, with the entrants eligible also for airfare and hotel accommodations and a trip to a reception, the details of which were unspecified.

Earlier in the day, the website Charitybuzz.com removed an auction from its site in which a winner could bid in an auction to win two tickets to the fundraiser, along with dinner with the “Hollywood elite” of stars and other showbiz figures, according to the auction listing. The bids went up to $52,500, with an estimated listed value of $175,000, before the DNC requested that the auction be taken down. The site listed a hospital, adoption agency and the DNC as recipients of the proceeds. It is unclear when the DNC was first aware of the auction posting.

“At Charitybuzz we work with thousands of nonprofits to offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences that raise funds for great causes,” said a spokeswoman for the site. “We have a rigorous approval process and stand behind everything posted on our site. In this instance, we had written consent to post the auction and once circumstances changed and we were notified, we took immediate action and removed the auction package from the site.”

Those who enter the DNC sweepstakes do not have to make a contribution to win, but such contests have become a popular fundraising tool ever since President Obama’s re-election campaign offered tickets to attend a 2012 event at the home of George Clooney. The drawing reaped almost $10 million for the campaign.

Obama’s plans for his visit also include a fundraiser at the home of Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino.

First lady Michelle Obama is the headliner at a fundraiser on Tuesday at the home of HBO’s Michael Lombardo and architect Sonny Ward. On Wednesday, she is scheduled to attend a luncheon for the Grammy Museum.

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