It appears the President is pushing the legal limits again. Not only does he make appointments during pro forma sessions of congress, he now is selling buttons that were taken at taxpayer expense in the Oval Office. It is pretty clear that use of the White House for campaign purposes is prohibited, but this president has made it clear that he is not interested in what is ethical or legal. It is what he can get away with. The buttons are being sold on Barackobama.com for five bucks each. We think this money should be put in the United States Treasury.
This is so blatant that even the mainstream media is questioning the use.
The first family has yet to appear together on the 2012 campaign trail, but the faces of the foursome are now officially for sale in President Obama’s campaign store.
A portrait of the president, first lady and their daughters taken in the Oval Office by an official White House photographer is prominently featured on Obama-Biden buttons for $5 apiece, and in an online campaign ad asking voters to “join our campaign.”
It’s the first time this election cycle that images of Sasha and Malia Obama have been used by the president’s re-election team after years of careful control over their public use.
But more remarkable may be the legal and ethical questions raised by use of the photo, which was originally taken and published at taxpayer expense and for which political and commercial use is expressly prohibited.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in response to an inquiry from ABC News last week that the photos – which are freely available on the administration’s Flickr website – are “basically items in the public domain.”
“They cannot be used for commercial uses,” Earnest said at a press briefing, “but we’ve also seen a number of political campaigns, certainly in 2010, that used … photos off the Flickr website and incorporated them into their television advertisements and other advertisements.”