Lobbyists not funding “my party”? Not quite
posted at 7:05 pm on June 5, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Barack Obama declared that “my party” will not take money from lobbyist PACs. However, the lobbyist ban apparently doesn’t apply to personal donations from lobbyists, as Obama’s campaign has proven repeatedly during the primaries. The ban on PAC donations also doesn’t apply to Obama’s party:
To rousing applause, Barack Obama formally announced this afternoon that the Democratic National Committee will follow his lead and begin refusing donations from registered lobbyists and special-interest political action committees.
“They do not fund my campaign,” the presumptive Democratic nominee told a small-town southwest Virginia crowd, after delivering a standard refrain that blames drug and insurance interests for blocking universal health care. “They will not fund our party. And they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I’m President of the United States.”
Well, at least not on the presidential level.
The Obama campaign confirms that two other arms of the national party – the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – will continue to accept lobby and PAC money this election. That’s the same position as presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and every affiliate of the Republican National Committee, who all accept lobby and PAC dollars.
To make this clear, lobbyist PACs will continue to fund the Democratic Party, regardless of what Obama claimed earlier today. That has to be the fastest flip-flop since Hillary Clinton changed position on illegal-alien drivers licenses within 120 seconds last November. Obama clearly intended people to believe that the entire party had orders to turn down these donations, which even they acknowledged was false from the beginning.
Besides, all that does is redirect lobbyist money from PACs to individuals. While acting holier-than-thou, the Obama campaign has had no problems having big-ticket lobbyists among their bundlers. Two of the top bundlers for his campaign lobby for the oil industry. Obama wants to pretend that that he remains free of influence from lobbyists, but by his own definition of influence, he’s in their pockets already.
This continues a very tiresome theme in this election, which demonizes lobbyists instead of the elected representatives they lobby. The issue isn’t lobbyists but the expansive amount of spoils that they can grab at the federal level. If a candidate wants to reduce the influence lobbyists have, they would enact policies that shrink the reach and cost of federal government. Barack Obama’s policies do exactly the opposite, expanding government control and spending, increasing the spoils for lobbyists given to them by elected representatives.
When Obama kicks all of the lobbyists out of his bundlers, rejects all contributions from people employed at firms that do lobbying, and then extends that policy to all of the official Democratic Party committees, then he will have told the truth in today’s announcement. Until then, he’s still the man who took $125,000 from Jack Abramoff’s firm by holding a fundraiser in their offices and essentially lying about his stance on lobbyists.