President says Dinner with Obama is not a fundraiser, what $5 goes to charity?

In advance of Thursday’s second-quarter fundraising deadline, Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina yesterday sent this message to the millions on President Obama’s email list:

Watch the President’s video, and then donate $5 or more to be automatically entered for the chance to have dinner with him.

In the video, the president announces that Joe Biden will join him at the dinner. “I’ve got a pretty big announcement about that contest the campaign is running where you can join me for dinner. We’re setting another place at the table for Joe Biden.”

The potential trouble: The Web video was shot from the White House, and as ReaClearPolitics reports, it’s against the law — for the president or any federal government employee — to solicit funds from “any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties.”

It shall be unlawful for an individual who is an officer of employee of the Federal Government, including the President, Vice President, and Members of Congress, to solicit or receive a donation of money or other thing of value in connection with a Federal, State or local election, while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties by an officer or employee of the United States, from any person.

The White House makes three arguments defending the Web video, which it says was shot by the Democratic National Committee. One, it says it’s NOT a fundraising solicitation. “This is not a fundraising solicitation in any way shape or form,” an official tells First Read. “We don’t solicit funds from the White House.”

via First Read – Obama White House defends Web video pitch.