Obama takes six figures from Abramoff firm

posted at 11:04 am on April 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama has pledged to end the influence of lobbyists, but that doesn’t keep him from fundraising at the offices of one of the most notoriously corrupt lobbyists in years. Newsday reported over the weekend that Obama took about $125,000 from Greenberg Traurig employees at their Miami offices last October. The firm made headlines when its biggest lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, admitted to several counts of corruption and was sentenced to prison:

Last fall, Barack Obama quietly slipped into the Miami headquarters of a major law firm scarred by the scandals of Jack Abramoff, its once-powerful Washington lobbyist who now sits in jail.

Arriving a little after 10 a.m. on Oct. 1, Obama spent the next three hours schmoozing, speaking in a video conference to branch offices and raising money at Greenberg Traurig, a billion-dollar firm with one of the biggest lobby shops here.

Obama has now raised about $125,000 from Greenberg Traurig employees — nearly half of it at the time of the event — more than from any of the other top law and lobby firms.

Symbolically, it was a starkly contradictory event: an appearance by the candidate who crusades most adamantly against lobbyists at the onetime firm of the poster child for out-of-control influence peddling.

Public anger over the Abramoff lobbying scandal led Obama to institute the ban on lobbyist money in the first place, an aide said last year.

The contributions apparently comprise the “smaller donors” that Obama likes to mention as his supposedly grassroots efforts. According to Open Secrets, Greenberg employees made 186 separate contributions to his presidential campaign, many of them in the last week of September 2007. It appears that the Obama campaign wanted the donations back-dated in order to get credit for the amounts in third-quarter fundraising figures.

Newsday says that John McCain and Hillary Clinton have also received money from Greenberg, and they’re correct. McCain has actually done better with Greenberg employees, to the tune of $142,000, and Hillary wins the gold medal with $163,000. However, among the broad spectrum of lobbyists and legal firms, Hillary has taken in $15.7 million and Obama $13.8 million. McCain comes in last at $4.2 million.

The problem isn’t so much the lobbying money. After all, lobbyists represent people with real concerns about how federal dollars get allocated. The problem is the oozing hypocrisy of politicians who demonize lobbyists on one hand and then pander to them for contributions on the other. Obama paid almost $3,000 in rental fees for that event in which he raised so much money, and he continues to shriek about lobbyists while chasing their money, claiming to represent the little xenophobic religious gun-grabbing protectionist real Americans while doing so.

Here’s how politicians can reduce the influence of lobbyists: shrink the size and scope of the federal government. When taxpayers keep more of their own money and the federal government has less power, lobbyists won’t have a reason to plague Washington or to spread money and temptation around Capitol Hill. Since Barack Obama pledges to do the exact opposite, his election would have the direct effect of making lobbyists all the more relevant, and much richer.


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Here’s how politicians can reduce the influence of lobbyists: shrink the size and scope of the federal government.

Amen, brother.

misterpeasea on April 14, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Maybe Barry meant that “hope and change” will start only after he becomes CiC.

a capella on April 14, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Typical politician.

wise_man on April 14, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Touche’

AnthonyK on April 14, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Here’s how politicians can reduce the influence of lobbyists: shrink the size and scope of the federal government. When taxpayers keep more of their own money and the federal government has less power, lobbyists won’t have a reason to plague Washington or to spread money and temptation around Capitol Hill. Since Barack Obama pledges to do the exact opposite, his election would have the direct effect of making lobbyists all the more relevant, and much richer.

Damn Ed! That was brilliant! You are on fire today!!

Agrippa2k on April 14, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Again, Hussein O’Mama will do and say anything to be the first Black president elected by Affirmative Action.

Indy Conservative on April 14, 2008 at 11:12 AM

I’m shocked! How can this be???

D2Boston on April 14, 2008 at 11:12 AM

People who are going to be effected by a piece of legislation have a right to petition the government about it. It’s in the First Amendment.

I have no problem with The Obamassiah taking campaign donations — just be up front about it and don’t be hypocritical about it.

rbj on April 14, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Gun, foot, aim, shoot.

darwin on April 14, 2008 at 11:18 AM

“Do as I say, not as I do.” Huseein Obama in a perfect light…..oh Messiah!

geminicontender on April 14, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Does Joe Biden still consider him clean?

JammieWearingFool on April 14, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Hey, a brotha gots to get paid, y’all!

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on April 14, 2008 at 11:28 AM

I’m utterly convinced that Barack Obama is a lying sack of crap. His charm has faded, the more he speaks the more we learn about how much he is a lying sack of crap he is.
Sadly I don’t think the mesmerized lemmings that fall for his teleprompted eloquence can be swayed. They are dead, they are zombies waiting to do Barack’s bidding in November. We have to make sure Conservatives get out and vote.

cannonball on April 14, 2008 at 11:36 AM

Here’s how politicians can reduce the influence of lobbyists: shrink the size and scope of the federal government. When taxpayers keep more of their own money and the federal government has less power, lobbyists won’t have a reason to plague Washington or to spread money and temptation around Capitol Hill. Since Barack Obama pledges to do the exact opposite, his election would have the direct effect of making lobbyists all the more relevant, and much richer.

=======================================

Excellent post Ed. Cogent, succinct and insightful!! The question is why are so many people so blind to this??

georgealbert on April 14, 2008 at 11:45 AM

Jesus Barry would never sully his hands with dirty filthy money.

He’s above all of that.

benrand on April 14, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Hillary has taken in $15.7 million and Obama $13.8 million. McCain comes in last at $4.2 million.

What a huge difference. I assume he’s waiting for the general election but McCain has got to hammer them on this.

kongzilla on April 14, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Here’s how politicians can reduce the influence of lobbyists: shrink the size and scope of the federal government. When taxpayers keep more of their own money and the federal government has less power, lobbyists won’t have a reason to plague Washington or to spread money and temptation around Capitol Hill. Since Barack Obama pledges to do the exact opposite, his election would have the direct effect of making lobbyists all the more relevant, and much richer.

Fiscal conservatism in a nutshell – Follow the Constitution. Leave the power to the states where it belongs.

Corsair on April 14, 2008 at 12:02 PM

How many times as Senator Obama said “I don’t take money from lobbyists like my opponent”?

I never thought it would translate out into “I don’t take money from lobbyists like my opponent because they take more than me.”

gabriel sutherland on April 14, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Oh Hypocrisy!! Thy middle name be Hussein.

Hening on April 14, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Change We Can Believe In — if we’re all a bunch of idiots (oh, wait a minute, he thinks we are).

AZCoyote on April 14, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Yes We Can I Got Mine

mymanpotsandpans on April 14, 2008 at 12:34 PM

I used to work at that same GT office, and can assure you the firm is far from corrupt. We would regularly joke about Abramoff, and tried our best to distance ourselves from that scumbag. With that said, let’s beat up on Obama regardless!

FLcapitalistthug on April 14, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Oh Hypocrisy!! Thy middle name be Hussein.
Hening on April 14, 2008 at 12:13 PM

You didn’t get the memo: you are not allowed to use Snobama’s middle name. Don’t ask my why because I, like everyone else, doesn’t really know.

Just refrain from further use and get back in line.

Bishop on April 14, 2008 at 12:44 PM

At least he doesn’[t take money from BIG OIL COMPANIES.

TooTall on April 14, 2008 at 12:48 PM

Bishop at 12:44PM

McCain never said no one is allowed to use Hussein. He won’t allow his campaign to use it. And that’s smart politics.

jgapinoy on April 14, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Of course, this will never see the light of day in 99% of the objective media, If reported at all, the only mention will be how much money McCain got.

Del Dolemonte on April 14, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Heh.

Jaibones on April 14, 2008 at 1:27 PM

Again, Hussein O’Mama will do and say anything to be the first Black president elected by Affirmative Action.

Indy Conservative on April 14, 2008 at 11:12 AM

The first Black president will be a Republican, and it won’t be by affirmative action.

Entelechy on April 14, 2008 at 2:20 PM

He clean! He clean!

saved on April 14, 2008 at 2:40 PM

Come back, Tom DeLay.

whitetop on April 14, 2008 at 2:48 PM

nothin’ ta see here folks…

hey! did u hear the one about the hicks in PA?

TheCulturalist on April 14, 2008 at 3:21 PM

Geez, is he getting sloppy or what?! :)

ThePrez on April 14, 2008 at 4:41 PM

Here’s how politicians can reduce the influence of lobbyists: shrink the size and scope of the federal government.

The Fair Tax would also reduce the influence of lobbyists and reduce the crushing power of government.

Too bad Huckabee took up that issue instead of someone I could actually vote for.

Buy Danish on April 14, 2008 at 5:29 PM

Shhh. Nothing to see here. Move along. Keep moving.

oakpack on April 14, 2008 at 7:30 PM