Money

Carla Marinucci
Updated 7:55 am, Thursday, July 24, 2014

President Obama hit the Bay Area for a fast cash-and-grab fundraising drive Wednesday, but there were signs that even in one of the nation’s most reliable Democratic ATMs, donor fatigue is setting in.

There was no listed price for tickets for Obama’s morning appearance at a roundtable in San Francisco for the House Majority PAC – the type of intimate gathering for which admission is usually $32,400 per person, the legal maximum. Some donors said tickets had been offered for a deep discount.

And in Los Altos Hills, the heart of Silicon Valley big money, the president’s appearance at the home of real estate mogul George Marcus drew an older crowd that was noteworthy for the absence of young angel investors, startup stars and tech leaders who have flocked to fundraisers Obama has held while paying 17 previous visits as president to the Bay Area.

Democratic donors who were invited to the San Francisco event, at the Four Seasons Hotel on Market Street, said they had initially been asked to donate as much as $25,000 to sit down with Obama. One who balked at the price said organizers had offered a cut-rate deal of as little as $5,000.

“Five-thousand dollars to sit down with the president for an hour? That’s usually what it costs for a photo of you and your whole family” with Obama, said the invitee, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Organizers at the House Majority PAC said the event wasn’t really a fundraiser.

“There were no tickets or cost of admission,” the group said. “The president is appearing at the event only as a featured speaker and special guest, and is not asking for funds or donations.”

Obama is turning again and again to the Bay Area to raise money – his last visit was less than three months ago – in part because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down limits on donors’ overall campaign contributions, Democratic insiders said.

The court’s decision in April wiped out individual limits of $74,600 in combinated donations to all parties and political action committees, and $48,600 in combined donations to federal candidates per individual.

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