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Michael Toner Comments on New Political Group Built from Obama Campaign

Los Angeles Times
January 22, 2013

Michael E. Toner, co-chair of Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was quoted in a January 17 Los Angeles Times story on a new political group being built out of President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Mr. Toner’s comments also appeared in a New York magazine column that cited the Times article.

The group, run by former Obama campaign officials, plans to use the campaign’s organizing tools and voter database to promote White House policy objectives such as raising the debt ceiling, gun control and immigration reform, the Times reported.

While a similar group fizzled after forming in 2009 as part of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the new organization will be separate and structured as a social welfare group that can accept unlimited contributions, according to the article.

"Every presidential campaign struggles with the question of, 'How do we handle our legacy?'" said Mr. Toner, a former chairman of the U.S. Federal Election Commission who also served as general counsel of the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign.

“This is fairly novel, and it's rare to talk about trying to house this apart from the party,” he told the Times. “I think it's very challenging, because the DNC will say, ‘What about us?’ Other candidates will say, ‘What about us?’ It's very hard to finesse that.”