In the rush for big donations to pay for this week’s Democratic convention, a party staffer reached out to Tennessee donor Roy Cockrum in May with a special offer: the chance to attend a roundtable discussion with President Obama.
Cockrum, already a major Democratic contributor, was in. He gave an additional $33,400. And eight days later, he was assigned a place across the table from Obama at the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Washington, according to a seating chart sent to the White House.
The 28-person gathering drew rave reviews from the wealthy party financiers who attended.
“Wonderful event yesterday,” New York lawyer Robert Pietrzak wrote to his Democratic National Committee contact. “A lot of foreign policy, starting with my question on China. The President was in great form.”
The details of the high-dollar event were captured in the trove of internal DNC emails released last week by the site WikiLeaks that has riled the party as delegates gather in Philadelphia to nominate Hillary Clinton.