For Rove, the Obama campaign is both a target and a rival – and he doesn't like one of the methods it is using to raise campaign money.
Making full use of the power of incumbency, the Obama campaign has set up a "speaker series" in which people pay $5,000 to hear closed-door speeches delivered by administration officials,
Obama campaign literature lists other Cabinet officers who may take part, including
Obama is "taking it [fundraising] to a different, dangerous level," Rove said in a recent interview.
"What they're doing is establishing a process by which you can buy influence."
The program, he said, is an invitation to people who may have business with Cabinet agencies "to come and hear these guys and hobnob with them."
"If the Energy secretary is at the speaker series and you have an application before the Energy Department, don't you think that's a little bit of an incentive to show up?" he said.
Rove described the series as a "very interesting approach for an administration that has been so rhetorically tough on influence peddling."
When Rove was at the Bush White House, of course, politics wasn't exactly banned. In January, a federal watchdog agency came out with a report indicating that employees in Bush's Office of Political Affairs violated the Hatch Act by giving political briefings in the course of the work day.
The report by the Office of Special Counsel showed that White House aides gave presentations that discussed "the electoral success of the
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt fired back at Rove.