President Obama’s re-election campaign hits New York’s fashion runway Tuesday night at a fundraising event called Runway to Win. Featured items from more than two dozen famous designers include a $95 silk-pattered scarf designed by Thakoon Panichgul; $45 dollar t-shirts from Sean John and an $85 wristlet from design duo Grace Tsao-Wua and Laura Kofoid of Laudi Vidni.
The merchandise costs much less than one typically pays for merchandise from these designers in retail stores — and it shows. Famous names aside, much of it is pretty standard campaign gear: canvas totes and unisex cotton or polyester blend t-shirts stamped with the campaign’s logo. But Republicans are crying foul and arguing that the sale is tantamount to illegal campaign contributions and may violate campaign finance rules.
"This raises serious questions about whether corporate money, property and employees were improperly used in the design and production of these items without reimbursement," said Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, The Wall Street Journal reports.
But designer Narcisco Rodriguez told The Journal that he spent about 24 hours designing a t-shirt for the sale that included time spent brainstorming with an aide who volunteered time to the effort.
“Sketch-time is not really work,” he said and he volunteered his time because “the president is cool … someone I believe in.”
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(Photo: Obama For America/BarackObama.com)