NYT: Yes, Obama’s getting big bucks from lobbyists

posted at 8:45 am on October 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Team Obama has already begun bragging in messages to supporters that they don’t take money from lobbyists in their campaign to re-elect the President, in an attempt to show that Barack Obama has kept his 2008 campaign promise.  That promise got broken in the first days of the Obama presidency, however, as the White House created a slew of “waivers” from Obama’s no-lobbyist appointment policy, including a waiver for working in an agency that the nominee lobbied directly.  It got so bad that ABC’s Jake Tapper demanded to see the waiver application forms that the White House used.

With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the new claim of purity on lobbyist money comes with a big, fat asterisk — although it might be a surprise to see the New York Times exposing the false claim:

Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid.

At least 15 of Mr. Obama’s “bundlers” — supporters who contribute their own money to his campaign and solicit it from others — are involved in lobbying for Washington consulting shops or private companies. They have raised more than $5 million so far for the campaign. …

As both a candidate and as president, Mr. Obama has vowed to curb what he calls the corrupting influence of lobbyists, barring them not only from contributing to his campaign but also from holding jobs in his administration. While lobbyists grouse about the rules, ethics watchdogs credit the changes with raising ethical standards in Washington.

But the prevalence of major Obama fund-raisers who also work in the lobbying arena threatens to undercut the president’s ethics push, raising questions about whether the campaign’s policies square with its on-the-ground practices, some of those same watchdogs say.

“It’s a legitimate concern,” said Craig Holman, a registered lobbyist for Public Citizen, a nonpartisan ethics group in Washington. “The campaign has to draw the line somewhere, but the reality is that the president is still relying on wealthy special interests and embracing those people in his campaign.”

As with all of Obama’s Clintonian claims, there is a small fig leaf.  The NYT’s Eric Lichtblau points out that Obama’s bundlers are not now registered with the Senate as lobbyists, which allows everyone to claim that, by the most technical definition, these bundlers aren’t lobbyists.  Longtime political observers might be excused for feeling a bout of nostalgia — and dyspepsia — from the similarity between this and Bill Clinton’s notorious dodge that his claim (and sworn testimony) to have not had sexual relations with a White House intern rested on the definition of the word is.

And when I say technical, I’m not kidding around.  Lichtblau highlights a couple of Obama bundlers who didn’t just lobby in the past, but who currently run lobbying shops for big corporations.  David L. Cohen runs the lobbying shop at Comcast, for instance, one of the betes noires of the Net Neutrality crowd, who bundles for Obama at the $500,000 level.  Sally Susman has the same job at Pfizer, which Obama should know — since she has personally lobbied at the White House.  Twice!  Four other bundlers have registered as lobbyists in the past, and more work for well-known lobbying firms like Greenberg Traurig.

When Obama claims not to have had monetary relations with lobbyists, remember that it all depends on the definition of lobbyist, and also the definition of is.  And, for that matter, the definition of change, too.

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“Draining the swamp”.

Of it’s political contributions.

KMC1 on October 28, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Occupy White House

toenail on October 28, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Hope and Change! Yessir getcher Hope and Change right here! I said HOPE AND CHANGE, you dumb wingnut aholes! HOOOOOOPEE!! CHAAAAAANGE!

Bishop on October 28, 2011 at 8:53 AM

I truly despise this man…
still just a slap on the wrist by the NYT

cmsinaz on October 28, 2011 at 8:56 AM

As both a candidate and as president, Mr. Obama has vowed to curb what he calls the corrupting influence of lobbyists

What president has lied more than this creep?

He proved that lying big time with phony promises during a campaign works. The left side of the bell curve has a heck of a lot of voters with short memories and this creep knows it.

Chessplayer on October 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

That promise got broken in the first days of the Obama presidency, however, as the White House created a slew of “waivers” from Obama’s no-lobbyist appointment policy, including a waiver for working in an agency that the nominee lobbied directly.

Ed Morrisey

Yeah, , , , but how many promises has he broken, or waiver applications has he filled out . . . lately?

(as in the last 20 minutes, or should I say seconds)

listens2glenn on October 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Don’t forget his connection to the freshly indicted Raj Gupta.

JammieWearingFool on October 28, 2011 at 9:11 AM

David L. Cohen runs the lobbying shop at Comcast, for instance, one of the betes noires of the Net Neutrality crowd, who bundles for Obama at the $500,000 level.

I’m going to predict that this piece of information, more than anything else, is going to drive the Democratic Nutroots bat-**** crazy. Anyone who peruses left-leaning news-aggregators like Digg or Puffington Host from time to time knows just how intensely critical liberals are about the the cozy relationship between ISPs and the federal government.

Though I doubt we agree on the same solutions, I think a lot of independents and conservatives are equally suspect of the big ISPs whose wealth and influence is derived from government-granted monopolies. It doesn’t seem entirely proper for the ISPs to use the profits generated from their government-granted monopolies to lobby the government for even more power. It’s not entirely unlike public teacher’s unions lobbying the government.

Lawdawg86 on October 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM

That promise got broken in the first days of the Obama presidency

He broke promises as a candidate. Dear Liar promised to have a publicly funded campaign, then when he saw he could raise more privately, he, ah, changed. And the complicit media did not call him out on it at all.

rbj on October 28, 2011 at 9:15 AM

They aren’t lobbyists….get it straight, they are czars….

right2bright on October 28, 2011 at 9:15 AM

That promise got broken in the first days of the Obama presidency…

I don’t believe it…

JetBoy on October 28, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Hope and Change! Yessir getcher Hope and Change right here! I said HOPE AND CHANGE, you dumb wingnut aholes! HOOOOOOPEE!! CHAAAAAANGE!

Bishop on October 28, 2011 at 8:53 AM

Err. It’s called Hopium now, dude.

/I can’t remember who coined that phrase Hopium on HA but it wasn’t me.

Key West Reader on October 28, 2011 at 9:30 AM

What president has lied more than this creep?

Chessplayer on October 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Or has been better shielded by the media? The only reason we know what we do is because of the alternative media and the fact that the cracks in the dam are appearing faster than his fluffers can fill them.

SKYFOX on October 28, 2011 at 9:31 AM

Obama is an unethical liar, while claiming to bring ethics back to Washington D.C.????

Whodathunkit!?!?!?

capejasmine on October 28, 2011 at 9:47 AM

although it might be a surprise to see the New York Times exposing the false claim

That IS a surprise. The rest of it…not so much.

lynncgb on October 28, 2011 at 9:50 AM

The New York Pravda is a more apt moniker. Although Pravda translated from Russian is truth, NY Pravda like it’s Russian tabloid is Orwellian in the moniker.
If you use the Orwellian dictionary when you listen to Obama speak, the truth comes to light. If you do not have a Orwellian dictionary, just assume the exact opposite of what he says and the truth will be revealed.

IowaWoman on October 28, 2011 at 10:02 AM

…and Obama’s joke of being stricter on lobbyist just adds to the cronyism coming from this White House:

Across From White House, Coffee With Lobbyists

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/us/politics/25caribou.html

On the agenda over espressos and lattes, according to more than a dozen lobbyists and political operatives who have taken part in the sessions, have been front-burner issues like Wall Street regulation, health care rules, federal stimulus money, energy policy and climate control — and their impact on the lobbyists’ corporate clients.


The off-site meetings, lobbyists say, reveal a disconnect between the Obama administration’s public rhetoric — with Mr. Obama himself frequently thrashing big industries’ “battalions” of lobbyists as enemies of reform — and the administration’s continuing, private dealings with them.

….only a complete partisan fool would believe anything this President has to say.

Baxter Greene on October 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM

The left side of the bell curve has a heck of a lot of voters with short memories and this creep knows it.

Chessplayer on October 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Short on memory? More like short on brain cells.

Del Dolemonte on October 28, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Rest easy. Barry checked his personal definition of ‘lobbyist’ and none of his bundlers fit it.

GarandFan on October 28, 2011 at 10:36 AM

At what point do his pants catch on fire and his nose grows 8 feet long?

scalleywag on October 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM

But the prevalence of major Obama fund-raisers who also work in the lobbying arena threatens to undercut the president’s ethics push

I don’t think that means what he thinks it means.

chemman on October 28, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Damn the laws!

We must get ‘the won’ re-elected.

Squiggy on October 28, 2011 at 11:40 AM

The most reliable way to predict what these people will do is to look at the opposite of what they say they will do.

NukeRidingCowboy on October 28, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Sics munce ago I cudn’t spill lobiest.
Now I r gettun muny frum thim!

Herb on October 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM