White House Invites CEOs for Lunch—Then Bills Them

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2009 5:38 PM CDT
White House Invites CEOs for Lunch—Then Bills Them
Ursula Burns of Xerox.   (AP Photo/Xerox Corp., Nick Rocklin)

Four top CEOs who sat down to lunch with President Obama at the White House have an unusual memento: the bill for their meals. White House staffers collected the credit card numbers of the executives from Coke, Xerox, AT&T, and Honeywell so they could pay up afterward, Politico reports. The White House says it wanted to avoid any conflicts of interest and will continue the practice at future meetings. No word on the menu.

“I’m sure they have their political reasons for doing that, but I think it’s not what quote, hospitality, unquote is all about,” says Letitia Baldrige, who ran Jackie O's staff. "We’ve got to relax about this." A former Bush official says no such billing took place in the previous White House, but another adds that Bush was so sensitive about being seen with CEOs that he doesn't think any ate lunch there. (More President Obama stories.)

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