The Obama transition team has set up a separate transition program beyond the one that is paid for by the American taxpayer. Called the "Obama/Biden Transition Project," it is a 501(c)4 tax-exempt organization, with no limits on the contributions it can receive and no requirements to divulge the names of individuals or organizations that give it money.
Traditionally, the victorious campaign has set up inaugural funds, as well as funds to deal with legal costs and other expenses to close down the campaign. Others have set up quasi-corporate offices to deal with transition issues, such as in 2000, when, with the election in doubt, the Bush-Cheney team set up a private transition office in McLean, Virginia, covering the costs from campaign contributions and other fundraising. Ultimately, the federal government, headed by the Government Services Administration, covers the cost of the transition staff, providing it with office space and all equipment.
No political organization has ever set up a transition team as a tax-exempt entity that would be shrouded in such secrecy.
Obama claimed he would be more transparent about the way things were done.
As well, the nonprofit may also serve as a haven for Obama supporters and campaign loyalists who for one reason or another can't be employed by the Administration or in the federal government. "There are some people who have been with us from the beginning who are clearly political liabilities or who won't be able to qualify for a job, say, because they can't get a security clearance."
Regardless of the purpose, Obama campaign officials say there is no intention of shutting down the 501(c) 4 Project after the transition is over.