Shocker: Obama takes lobbyist money

posted at 10:20 am on July 30, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Last month, Barack Obama announced that “my party” would not take donations from federally-registered lobbyists or their PACs.  Somehow, that news failed to make it to his own campaign.  Roll Call took a peek at lobbying disclosures for the first half of 2008, and discovered $15,000 of donations from dozens of lobbyists:

Lobbyists might be persona non grata on the presidential campaign trail, but that hasn’t put them off of donating to the presumptive Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).

Obama has pledged to forgo contributions from federally registered lobbyists. Yet, more than 40 have donated nearly $15,000 to his presidential campaign this year, according to records recently filed with the Senate and House.

The latest tally, as of Tuesday, comes as lobbyists have begun filing their LD-203 forms, a requirement of the Honest Government and Open Leadership Act of 2007. The provision requires lobbyists and all lobbying organizations to file forms to the Senate and House by July 30 and Jan. 30 that list ties to political action committees, federal campaign contributions over $200 and expenditures for events that honor officials covered by the law.

Roll Call asked the Obama campaign to explain this apparent reversal of policy.  Team Obama claimed that they would refund any donation they find that came from a lobbyist — but that they rely on lobbyists to identify themselves at the time of the donation.  That seems a little strange to me; if we can rely on lobbyists to be honest, then why does Obama reject their contributions at all?

Besides, the lobbyists say that Obama’s lips say NO, but his fundraisers say YES:

Despite those measures, only two of the 42 federally registered contributing lobbyists, David Taylor of Weil Gotshal & Manges and Kyle Danish of Van Ness Feldman, reported on their forms that the Obama campaign had refunded their money.

Others say that since their initial donation, they’ve received several fundraising requests.

“I sent a small check,” said Victor Kamber, a lobbyist at Carmen Group Inc. who gave Obama $200 after he had maxed out to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) campaign. “Since then I’ve been heavily inundated.”

Kamber, who is registered to lobby on behalf of Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Health, says he hasn’t received a refund from Obama.

The campaign says they will return contributions “soon” from these lobbyists.  It could make it easier if they quit sending them so many requests for donations.

As I’ve written before, this is really a tiresome and pointless exercise.  Lobbyists represent Americans on policy matters, and unless they’re conducting bribery, it’s a Constitutional exercise.  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.

It’s easy.  Cut spending, reduce the size of government, and we can get rid of the corrupting influence that some lobbying brings.  In fact, if Obama wanted to keep lobbyists from supporting his campaign, that’s exactly how he could best do it — and that would be a voluntary system with which lobbyists would certainly comply.


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Help me Barry Obama-Kenobi.

You’re our only hope.

benrand on July 30, 2008 at 10:25 AM

The NYT says that this is a sophomoric accusation.

Akzed on July 30, 2008 at 10:27 AM

The audacity of it all…. A politician lying to us..

originalpechanga on July 30, 2008 at 10:28 AM

benrand, LOL. That’s a real good one.

/mind if I copy it?

Sir Napsalot on July 30, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Obama doesn’t care about lobbyists, he just wants to insulate himself by not appearing to be in bed with them, you know, mafiosi style.

CP on July 30, 2008 at 10:32 AM

As I’ve written before, this is really a tiresome and pointless exercise. Lobbyists represent Americans on policy matters, and unless they’re conducting bribery, it’s a Constitutional exercise. The issue isn’t lobbyists but the expansive amount of spoils that they can grab at the federal level.

Most people don’t understand this, they hear the word ‘lobbyist’ and they think it must be something evil. But if you want your representitive to introduce a bill to put stop signs in front of church cross walks, you hafta lobby him with the idea.

Tony737 on July 30, 2008 at 10:36 AM

This can’t be true; Barack of Obama said he would not take money from lobbyists!

carbon_footprint on July 30, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Shocka and yet much ado about nothing. We have known for a long time that BO is a hypocrite.

HawaiiLwyr on July 30, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Well . . . at least he doesn’t take money from Big Oil Companies!

TooTall on July 30, 2008 at 10:42 AM

The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together and will help us defeat John McCain in the election!

YAAAAAY!!!

benrand on July 30, 2008 at 10:42 AM

This is as shocking as when earlier this week, Harry Reid said “Drill? Hey, why not?”

pilamaye on July 30, 2008 at 10:43 AM

The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together and will help us defeat John McCain in the election!

But first, we, as B.O., would have to submit to the True Lord and Master of The Dark Side, Darth Soros.

And I don’t exactly see that happening anytime now, in the near or distant future.

pilamaye on July 30, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Your hard work and generosity have gotten us this far, but the fact remains, our opponents still have a big fundraising advantage. They are very good at raking in huge donations, especially from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs.

This is from my most recent email from Barack Obama. As you can see it is McCain who takes money from lobbyists. Barack Obama says so.

ctmom on July 30, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Rewrite:

Now: You’re the “one” Neo, you’re the “One”
2012: You’re the “one” Nero, you’re the “One”. Put that fiddle down, and up against the wall.

Vote against socialism/Marxism, vote McCain ’08

adamsmith on July 30, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Lobbying is needed to get what you want, but gone are the days when you can just express your views without a HUGE check or bundle attached.

Indian Tribes in CA are now the biggest money givers in Sacramento, they have passed the prison guards and teachers unions without looking back.

In return, they are supported in almost all they do, even when it’s the wrong thing…

originalpechanga on July 30, 2008 at 10:56 AM

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened, like a missed photo-op or Rev. Dr. Wright being shown on Fox News again.

benrand on July 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Did he mean the Democrat party, or is he now referring to this campaign as “my party”?

Jaibones on July 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Did anyone else notice that they don’t have to report there donations again until Jan 30 next year…..HMMMMMMMM!!!

twiggman on July 30, 2008 at 11:06 AM

As Barry so modestly told us, he has become a symbol of the best of American traditions.

I guess being a liar and hypocrite is now considered the best of American traditions.

Thanks a lot, Barry.

AZCoyote on July 30, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Comparing to the millions from ‘grassroot’ donors, the lobbyists’ money is nothing.

Is there any way to check Obama does not get illegal ‘foreign’ contributions? Like German youths or Chinese starving farmers?

Sir Napsalot on July 30, 2008 at 11:14 AM

They should also look into Moveon.org ad we all saw and see how Barack wasn’t going to deal with them either.

Rbastid on July 30, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Wait until we get the Ron Paul Taking Money From Nazi Symp Defense:

“We’ll take the money and DO SOMETHING GOOD with it…”

catmman on July 30, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Guys, this isn’t really an issue. Ed, I know you’re like the lead McCain Cheerleader, and honestly, I have no idea how you manage to carry all that water for McCain, but guys, this is a non issue when our candidate who has spent how many decades blasting the special interests just took a ton of money from the Oil Companies.

So all you can honestly say about it is that your guy is just as hypocritical as our guy? Come on, that’s not much of a rallying cry is it?

However, you see what happens when we nominate a Moderate like McCain, we’re reduced to finding these non issues and hoping to make them issues. You wonder why both candidates are below fifty percent in polling? Here’s why, there’s not much difference between them. They are both professional politicians, who will both lie, cheat, steal, and do anything for power.

Of course, with Obama’s “flip” on the war in Iraq, and McCain’s flip on raising taxes, we can safely say that the only difference between the two of them is drilling in ANWR and offshore. In which case, McCain isn’t one I’d really count on to follow through on those either.

Snake307 on July 30, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Last month, Barack Obama announced that “my party” would not take donations from federally-registered lobbyists…$15,000 of donations from dozens of lobbyists

That’s flip-flop number 22.

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 12:56 PM

there’s not much difference between them

McCain has a lifetime voting record of always being right of center. Obamarxist has always been among the most liberal of the Dems.

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 12:59 PM

there’s not much difference between them

McCain has a lifetime voting record of always being right of center. Obamarxist has always been among the most liberal of the Dems.

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 12:59 PM

If you ignore the violations of Freedom of speech, as in McCain Feingold and the other violations of the constitution and principal.

The problem is that his signature items have always been well left of center. The items he’s used to define himself, that have been the things he’s attached his name to. Bankruptcy reform certainly wasn’t a big right wing move. The environmentalist nutcase carbon cap and trade tax isn’t a right of center issue is it?

Right now, the only thing different in the two campaigns is that Obama doesn’t want to drill, and McCain does. Otherwise, they have nearly identical positions on the issues.

Iraq, conditions on the ground will determine troop levels, position of both candidates. Social Security? We may have to tax more to save it, position of both candidates. I could go on and on and on.

McCain is as far left as he could get away with and stay in the Senate, do you think he’ll suddenly change and become this staunch rock ribbed Conservative all of a sudden?

Snake307 on July 30, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Right now, the only thing different in the two campaigns is that Obama doesn’t want to drill, and McCain does. Otherwise, they have nearly identical positions on the issues.

Unless, of course, you count little things like taxes, earmarks, the War Against Islamofascism, abortion, & judicial nominees.

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Unless, of course, you count little things like taxes, earmarks, the War Against Islamofascism, abortion, & judicial nominees.

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Ok, Taxes. McCain says that regarding Social Security, nothing including tax increases is off the table. His Carbon Cap and Trade plan? Huge tax increase. So there we have to say, that McCain is in favor of increasing taxes.

Earmarks? Oh, you mean those things that McCain writes into laws for himself, for example if you are using a corporate Jet for campaigning, you only have to pay fuel costs from your campaign if your family owns the corporation? A situation that applies just about only to McCain and John Kerry? That by the way was in his McCain Feingold Campaign Finance law, which was supposed to take the money out of politics.

Special Interest money? McCain said he wasn’t going to take any either, but sure enough he just took over a million from Oil Company Execs. Right after he got on board the Drilling offshore side of the issue he’s always opposed.

War on Terror? Obama is calling for a Surge in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and Al Q in Afghanistan. What does McCain want? To stay in Iraq, and remove the troops when conditions warrant. Which is what Obama’s current position is. Sounds about the same, except Obama appears a bit more aggressive on Afghanistan. Perhaps McCain will come around soon though.

Abortion? McCain is opposed to Abortion, except when he had a chance to help push a Constitutional Amendment, the only thing the Supreme Court can’t overturn I might add, through the Congress. Then he wasn’t in favor of stopping Abortion, instead he decided to leave it as a political issue to campaign on.

Judicial Nominees? IS this the same McCain who said that Alito was too conservative, and Roberts wore his religion on his sleeve? Gee, what kind of nominees are we going to get with McCain? I know, Harriet Myers.

jgapinoy, you can blow smoke at some folks, but I suggest you don’t try and blow it at me. I hate John McCain, and I know why I hate him. He’s a back stabbing double crossing lying son of a female dog. He’s made his career taking a dump on conservatives, and now I watch all the supposed Conservatives singing his praises and swearing he’s a conservative too. Unfortunately, unlike the Liberals, I have a memory, and I remember the times that McCain shat upon us. I remember the lies McCain has told, and the times he screwed us over for his supporters the Media. Now, I’m supposed to forget all that, and pretend that he cares what we think?

McCain told us what he thought about us, so many times I have to wonder if you guys are drinking or taking some kind of drug to pretend that he’s really Conservative.

I won’t vote for him, I’ve already donated to Obama. I’ll vote for Obama, and I honestly hope and pray that Obama wins Georgia, my home state. I think he just might win this Presidency. If so, we will have averted the worst possible future for our nation. A true power mad dictator in the personage of John McCain. McCain hasn’t abandoned the Republican Party for one reason, he knows he can screw us over more from the inside.

If we get McCain as President, we honest deserve everything he’ll do to us.

Snake307 on July 30, 2008 at 1:34 PM

the lies McCain Snake307 has told

Wow!
I have a life, so I won’t respond to everything in the litany of lies & hyperbole in your rant–almost everyone who reads it will see through it. I just want to congratulate you for being the first person I know who says he hates high taxes, corruption, liberal judges, & earmarks, but still is & that’s why you’re voting for BO.
You’re amazing.

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 3:07 PM

PS–I know McCain is no Dream Candidate, but BO is a nightmare.

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 3:08 PM

Sure I’m supporting BO. McCain has flipped on so many issues you can’t keep track. McCain during the Keeting Five, we need campaign finance reform. McCain in 1988, we need public money out of campaigns, as how much taxpayer money is wasted on losing Presidential Bids? McCain in 1992, we CFR, and we need it now.

Of course, we got McCain Feingold Campaign Finance Reform. Sure Freedom of Speech is curtailed, but that’s a Conservative plan right? Limiting freedom of speech is a good conservative plan.

Tax cuts, he’s for them, against them, for them. Now, he’s in favor of tax increases. McCain is a liar, who constantly and consistantly has said one thing to get elected, and promptly done something else that the public doesn’t want, and no matter how loudly they scream they don’t want it, he pushes anyway.

Obama on the other hand is ruled as all Democrats are, by the polling numbers. If the public is for it, they’ll eventually be for it in a limited fashion, for example the PATRIOT ACT, another McCain brainchild. Sure, you don’t get access to a lawyer, but that’s fine, so long as we protect America in accordance with the Non Partisan Partisan committee to find out what the Federal Government didn’t do on 9-11.

Only in the Republican Senate could legislation which violates the bill of rights be passed by the same guy more than once. Freedom of Speech, down in flames under McCain. Right to have an attorney present during questioning? Down in flames under McCain and the PATRIOT ACT. Not for terrorists, for citizens who are given a national security letter. Sure more than a thousand of them have been used so far, so it’s OK. We’re not doing it every day, just about every day.

McCain is a nut who I would trust as dog catcher, and you want me to support him for the Presidency? Forget it. I’ll take a spineless wimp in the form of Obama who we can influence to go right, it’s already been done, over a meglomaniac like McCain who wipes his ass with our ideals and principals.

Unless you like things like abridging the freedom of speech, denying citizens access to an attorney, oh and of course, my personal favorite, McCain Amnesty. Where millions of felons, not just in the illegal entry of the US, but identity theft, will be forgiven for a small fee and attendance to a couple classes.

No, McCain is too dangerous to trust with the White House.

Snake307 on July 30, 2008 at 3:38 PM

If we get McCain as President, we honest deserve everything he’ll do to us.

Snake307 on July 30, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Do we deserve what Obama will do to us?

ThePrez on July 30, 2008 at 4:08 PM

ThePrez

Don’t try to make sense of his rants–you too might end up voting for 10X rather than 1X because you hate X.

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Obama is running right, while McCain is running left, which means if you’re a conservative, you have to respect Obama realizing that the Conservative way is the winning way. If you’re a Republican, you have to denounce it as flip flopping, even though he now agrees with you. Which means, you’re not a Conservative, you’re a Republican.

Best thing that ever happened to the Republican Party? Bill Clinton. Because then the Republicans finally embraced conservative ideals. Then they had the Contract with America, and then they pushed the conservative ideas through to legislation. Welfare reform? Huge conservative ideal, opposed by Clinton for how long? It was the third time the Republicans passed it before he signed it. Win, for Conservatives, and embraced by Clinton as his legacy.

Smaller Budget Deficits? Conservative Idea, shunned by Democrats, embraced by the Conservative Republicans. Started to work, and was embraced after being denounced loudly and often by Clinton, as his legacy item.

Republicans in the White House. Huge Deficits, out of control spending by Republican Congress. Loss of Conservative Idealism, embraced the Country Club Blue Blood idealism of the McCain wing of the Republican Party. Win, Republicans, loss Americans, and Conservatives.

Yeah, we got the White House, and it only cost us the Conservative Movement to get it. We kept the House and Senate for six of Bush’s years, and we sold our Conservative Ideals down the river for the victory, for which we got screwed royally.

No, I’m not Republican. I refuse to blindly support anything. By Choosing Obama, I hope to re-awaken the conservative idealism in the Republicans, so I can once again join them in pursuit of the Conservative idea. We can manipulate Obama, we can only be manipulated by McCain.

Snake307 on July 30, 2008 at 6:28 PM