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The lowdown on the President’s visit tomorrow

By Josh Richman
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 at 3:19 pm in campaign finance, Obama presidency.

I’ll be following President Barack Obama through the fundraisers he has scheduled for tomorrow evening in San Francisco.

The President’s Bay Area visit is both in support of the budget and deficit plan he released last week as well as part of his 2012 re-election campaign kickoff. He arrives in the Bay Area early tomorrow afternoon to hold a “Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity” online town hall at the Palo Alto headquarters of Facebook; my colleague Mike Swift at the Mercury News will be all over that.

Then, tomorrow evening, I’ll cover his appearance first at an exclusive fundraising dinner at the Presidio Heights home of billionaire Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne. At $35,800 per person for each of 60 attendees, this probably will be the most expensive dinner most of this very well-heeled crowd has ever consumed.

From each contributor, $30,800 will go to the Democratic National Committee while $5,000 will go to Obama’s re-election campaign: $2,500 for the primary, $2,500 for the general election.

Marc Benioff, 46, founded, a cloud computing company, in 1999; earlier, he worked at Oracle Corp. Former President George W. Bush appointed him co-chairman of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, on which he served from 2003 to 2005, overseeing publication of critical reports on health care information technology, cybersecurity, and computational sciences.

Of about $183,000 in federal political contributions Marc Benioff has made since 1996, roughly 70 percent has been to Democratic candidates and committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ database. His voter registration shows he has declined to state a party affiliation.

Forbes last month estimated his net worth at $2.1 billion. Barron’s in December named him and Lynne, 36, among the top 25 most effective philanthropists.

After the Benioff dinner, I’ll follow the President to his fundraiser at the Masonic Auditorium on Nob Hill. Tickets went for $25 for Gen44 activists; $250 for general admission; $1,000 for premium seating; $2,500 for VIP seating in the first three rows; and $10,000 for a photo reception.

On Thursday morning, he’s scheduled to attend a fundraising breakfast with about 100 guests – tickets reportedly cost $5,000 to $35,000 – at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco; I believe the Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci will be the local media’s eyes and ears for that one. After that he’s headed to Los Angeles; he’ll return to Washington, D.C., on Friday.

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