The USA Today wrote about a subject I have tackled in depth here on a number of occasions, and that is Barack Obama’s penchant for grossly misleading people about his ties to lobbyists and special interests. They mention ads he is running in PA. He is running similar ads here in NC:
The episode underscores the pitfalls confronting a candidate who rails against special interests while raising $193 million and counting — the most of any presidential campaign. Obama’s fundraising tests the limits of his claim that he is independent of Washington’s influence industry because he doesn’t take money from federal lobbyists and PACs.
Other examples that strain against that claim:
â€¢Obama holds fundraisers at law firms that lobby in Washington. Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed the campaign held five fundraisers at New York and Boston offices of three firms that lobby, including Greenberg Traurig, whose lobbying clients include gambling and handgun interests.
Obama counts lobbyists among his informal advisers, including Broderick Johnson, who heads the Washington lobbying practice of Bryan Cave, which represents Shell Oil, records show. Nine campaign staffers have been lobbyists, public records show. Johnson did not respond to requests for comment.
â€¢Obama accepts money from spouses of federal lobbyists. In December, the campaign returned a $250 contribution from lobbyist Thomas Jensen of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, but a few days later, it cashed a $500 check from his wife, Sarah, records show. Jensen said his wife had “personally chosen” to contribute to Obama.
â€¢Obama accepts contributions and fundraising help from state lobbyists. Florida lobbyist Russell Klenet hosted a fundraiser for Obama Aug. 25, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Two months before, Klenet had withdrawn as a lobbyist in Washington for a kidney dialysis company that relies heavily on federal revenue, Senate records show. Klenet did not return phone calls.
â€¢Obama is raising more than his opponents from executives of some of the corporate interests he criticizes. Obama has received more money from people who work at pharmaceutical and health product companies, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. He’s taken in $528,765 through February, compared with $506,001 for Clinton and $139,400 for McCain, despite saying last July that “I don’t take pharma money.”
[Obama spokesman Tommy] Vietor declined to answer questions about lobbyists’ role in the campaign and the candidate’s decision to accept contributions from lobbyists’ spouses and partners. He called Obama’s policy an imperfect but important symbolic step. Vietor said Obama “has long believed that lobbyists exert far too much influence over the national agenda.”
Obama attracts small donors
Obama has called his refusal to accept PAC and federal lobbyist money “a multimillion-dollar” sacrifice, but his opponents’ numbers suggest otherwise. Clinton has raised about $2 million from lobbyists and PACs while McCain has taken in about $1.2 million, according to the center.
Obama points to his unprecedented success in raising small sums from tens of thousands of regular citizens. As of Feb. 29, he had raised 41% of his money in increments of $200 or less, compared with 26% for Clinton and 13% for McCain, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute.
Yet Obama’s 20 largest sources of money, grouped by employers, are executives from major corporations and law firms with a Washington lobbying presence — including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Google, according to the center. Clinton’s and McCain’s top donors include executives from some of the same companies, such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
I know the next primary contest is in Pennsylvania next Tuesday, but I think Hillary’s going to win that one. On the other hand, Obama is way ahead of Hillary here in NC headed into the May 6th primary, and that leaves plenty of time for Democrat voters in this state to get a little more informed about their choices. Yeah, I’m a Republican so my opinion won’t be worth much to NC Dems, but all the same I thought I’d give it a try. If you’re looking for a candidate who shies away from special interests, Barack Obama is not your man.
Blogging about BO is an exercise in extreme frustration, because it’s clear as day that the man is anything but the person he presents himself as to the public, yet so many bandwagon jumpers refuse to see the light. When a politician starts sounding too good to be true to his side of the aisle, that’s usually because he is. But we live in an era where a politician who makes people “feel good” can go far on charisma and “just words,” so I guess the reality of who a candidate really is isn’t important if what one relies on is “feelings.”
You know the old saying about being able to lead a horse to water …
Related: Barack Obama – Jedi Master?