Obama campaign adviser also lobbying on the side

posted at 12:41 pm on October 22, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Remember Anita Dunn?  She played a key role in the Obama administration’s war on Fox News, acting as the informal liaison between the White House and Media Matters in the ill-fated effort, but eventually left the White House communications office after noting that one of her heroes was Mao Zedong.  Dunn never quite left the Obama administration’s circle of advisers, however, and has also provided assistance to Obama’s re-election campaign — or at least she has up to now.  The New York Times caught up with Dunn’s activities, which include a lot of lobbying at the same time she’s advising the President:

As a confidante of President Obamaand a senior campaign adviser, Ms. Dunn has helped prepare him for the debates this month, plotted campaign strategy and acted as a surrogate of sorts in attacking Mitt Romney for a “backward-looking attitude” on issues like women’s rights and health care.

She and her colleagues atSKDKnickerbocker, a communications firm, have built a growing list of blue-chip companies — food manufacturers, a military contractor, the New York Stock Exchange and the Canadian company developing the Keystone XL pipeline — willing to pay handsomely for help in winning over federal regulators or landing government contracts. Some clients and lobbyists who have teamed up with SKDK say they benefit from the firm’s ability to provide information about the Obama administration’s views.

“It is difficult to penetrate this administration,” said Jason Mahler, a lobbyist for the computer technology company Oracle, which was part of a coalition that hired Ms. Dunn’s firm to push for reduced tax rates on offshore profits. “Anyone that has an insight into what they are thinking or their strategy or thoughts on issues we are working on is helpful, and they provided that.”

SKDK executives said that Ms. Dunn, who declined to be interviewed, was scrupulous about separating her political work from her corporate agenda, and that she followed White House ethics rules barring her from appealing on behalf of clients.

And hey, she’s not the only Obama adviser in this position.  Hilary Rosen, who Team Obama used as a surrogate early in the campaign only to see her usefulness vanish in a nasty personal attack on Ann Romney, is a colleague at SKDK:

What the firm offers, said Hilary Rosen, an SKDK partner who is also a high-profile Obama ally, is help in navigating the political landscape in Washington.

Remember, of course, that the Obama campaign’s entire “Hope and Change” mantra was based on demonizing lobbyists and their close connections to politicians — especially on behalf of eeeeeeeeeeevil corporations.  That was always an intellectually dishonest argument, as the right to lobby government is enshrined in the First Amendment, and there is nothing wrong with organizing to do so.  The closeness of Dunn and Rosen to the Obama campaign, though, certainly makes them look like hypocrites.

The Daily Beast reports that this revelation has some Obama aides fuming for that very reason:

White House and campaign officials privately are voicing chagrin and surprise over the extent of presidential confidante Anita Dunn’s extensive consulting work for firms lobbying the administration on policies and regulations at the very time she is a key reelection adviser.

“It smells,” said one Obama campaign official. He asked for anonymity, as did at least three other White House and campaign aides, as well as one close personal friend of the president who responded to disclosures by The New York Times.

A White House aide conceded being “pissed off” by the story, expressing concern that Mitt Romney could use it to ridicule Obama’s pledges to change Washington’s political culture. He cited several other consultants working on the reelection campaign and said, “You don’t hear stories about them so obviously exploiting their access.”

A campaign aide said: “The timing is terrible. I bet it comes up in the debate [Monday] as a question of Obama ethics. I think she is well over the line.”

I’m not sure it will come up in the debate tonight, which will focus on foreign policy, unless SKDK does a significant amount of lobbying for foreign corporations. So far, that doesn’t appear to be the case. However, one can expect Team Romney to ding Obama for this hypocrisy in the next few days, although they probably won’t spend too much time on it. Most people want to hear about economy and a change in direction, and Mitt Romney already has his closing argument for those voters.

Update: I took “and” out of the headline.  It was an artifact from an earlier headline draft, and it made no sense at all once I had edited it — because Obama isn’t lobbying anyone, obviously.  My apologies if it confused anyone.

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I really hate this administration

cmsinaz on October 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

The “and” in the headline doesn’t make sense. It should probably just say “Obama campaign adviser also lobbying on the side.”

J.S.K. on October 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Obama must be short on dough. He’s going to LA on Wednesday, again. May those stupid people vote against him, for traffic infringements alone.

Schadenfreude on October 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Dear Leader has always surrounded himself with trusted Commies/Socialists/Marxists…

d1carter on October 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

And hey, she’s not the only Obama adviser in this position. Hilary Rosen, who Team Obama used as a surrogate early in the campaign only to see her usefulness vanish in a nasty personal attack on Ann Romney, is a colleague at SKDK

Which Hilary Rosen? Jay Carney knows 3 of them.

Bitter Clinger on October 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

“It is difficult to penetrate this administration,”

Talk to Sandra Fluke. She’s easy to penetrate.

BacaDog on October 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

The real hypocrisy … the one that’s really vile … the one that infects the Oval Office and half of Congress:

Rich Commies.

I despise all of them – the filth.

OhEssYouCowboys on October 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Most transparent Administraton, evah!

…transparent like the Mississippi River.

kingsjester on October 22, 2012 at 12:49 PM

The most transparent Administration, ever! What’s new?

tomshup on October 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM

The “and” in the headline doesn’t make sense. It should probably just say “Obama campaign adviser also lobbying on the side.”

J.S.K. on October 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Indeed. I’ve fixed it, and added an update in explanation.

Ed Morrissey on October 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM

“It is difficult to penetrate this administration

Funny, I feel penetrated by this administration on a daily basis.

JPeterman on October 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Anita Dunn: its OK… she’s a Democrat…

Move along… nothing to see here…

Khun Joe on October 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM

The Obama administration is a sea of corruption and we’ve only observed the surface of that sea to date.

Fast & Furious, Benghazi, Presidential EO’s to bypass congress as well as to provide cover for his administration, Anita Dunne, Van Jones, the ‘czars’, the luxury vacations for friends and family at tax payer expense, the lavish parties at tax payer expense, using separate jets to fly to the same destination for Obama and his wife…4 1/2 hours apart, Eric Holder’s war against states trying to clean up election corruption and institute sensible voter registration requirements, systematically undermining and destroying immigration agencies ability to capture, detain, process, and deport illegal aliens, strangling energy production in a morass of regulations, trying to put this nation under control of the UN…etc. etc.

The list is long. Too long. And this is just the surface, that which is obvious, or they didn’t even attempt to conceal.

thatsafactjack on October 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

It’s only hypocrisy when the other guys do it.

Lily on October 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

I can imagine the amount of money Keystone Pipeline is willing to pay lobbyist to try to get this administration to do the obvious…

Here is a hint to those guys…put your time, money, effort, into election Romney, and you won’t have to buy off these lobbyists.

right2bright on October 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Update: I took “and” out of the headline. It was an artifact from an earlier headline draft, and it made no sense at all once I had edited it — because Obama isn’t lobbying anyone, obviously. My apologies if it confused anyone.

Do we really know this to be fact?

With Obama, anything is possible.

Bitter Clinger on October 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I really hate this administration

cmsinaz on October 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Pollyannas would tell you that hate is an acid that destroys the vessel, but I find it to be a sweet nectar that sustains me.

swinia sutki on October 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

White House and campaign officials privately are voicing chagrin and surprise over the extent of presidential confidante Anita Dunn’s extensive consulting work for firms lobbying the administration on policies and regulations at the very time she is a key reelection adviser.

Are you kidding me? 0bama campaign officials are surprised by this? It’s not like this is anything new.

In fact, most of those “campaign officials” are probably lobbyists themselves.

UltimateBob on October 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Mitt – Don’t take any baits. Keep your eyes on the ball. Don’t do anything stupid. You have to be OK in tonight’s debate.

antisocial on October 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM

“The timing is terrible. I bet it comes up in the debate [Monday] as a question of Obama ethics. I think she is well over the line.”

looks like a great opportunity for Obama to express more unrighteous indignation????/

ted c on October 22, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Talk to Sandra Fluke. She’s easy to penetrate.

BacaDog on October 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Maybe, but she isn’t doing such a good job herself of penetrating. She only drew 10 people to an 0bama campaign event last weekend.

UltimateBob on October 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Really? The Marxist Messiah is still listening to a fellow marxist? Who would be surprised by that? Saying she loves Mao is a Resume enhancement in the Obama Regime. the fact that she’s a lobbyist as well as an adviser, would only matter if it was a Republican in office. The Obama Enemy media is not going to make a scene about them getting away with breaking the law. As evidenced by the wonton law breaking by taking foreign donations for his campaign and having an “Agent of Influence” of the Chinese Govt. in the White House more than some of the Messiah’s advisers. This is what America has accepted and until you start treating the media like the Anti-American jihadis they are, this will not change. The Obama Enemy media must be dealt with and here’s how: http://paratisiusa.blogspot.com/2012/09/an-open-letter-to-those-who-should-know.html?spref=tw

God Bless America!

paratisi on October 22, 2012 at 1:00 PM

What is she lobbying for, powerful psychotropic drugs like the ones she is on? Have you seen the creepy serpent-tongue action this politically-monstrous creature has? Symptomatic of the medications she’s on.

rayra on October 22, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Gallup Today:

Romney: 51

Obama: 45

+6

And I hate to break it to everyone, but when Gallup comes back to reality tomorrow, Obama will have a decent lead in the RCP average.

gumbyandpokey on October 21, 2012 at 6:15 PM

No, but it’s (Gallup) been “Right” as in favorable result for Romney ever since that huge outlier Sunday sample.

Bottom line is there are two outlier polls right now…Gallup and IBD/TIPP. And those basically cancel each other out. At least until tomorrow when Gallup should be more reasonable with the bad sample out.

gumbyandpokey on October 21, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Resist We Much on October 22, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Gumby was right!!!!!!!!!!!! Mitt plummeted in Gallup today. Mitt 51-45. Tragic. It was 7 yesterday. SEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

levi on October 22, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Obama also going to Las Vegas on Wednesday. Must be getting desperate.

Los Angeles for dough.

Las Vegas for illegal votes and more dough.

Schadenfreude on October 22, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Talk to Sandra Fluke. She’s easy to penetrate.

BacaDog on October 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Maybe, but she isn’t doing such a good job herself of penetrating. She only drew 10 people to an 0bama campaign event last weekend.

UltimateBob on October 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Have you seen her face? Would you be willing to go anywhere to meet her, not to speak of penetrations, without an opaque bag tied around your head?

Archivarix on October 22, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Oops, you got the scoop Resist we much.

I should have pulled the one where he said the day that was dropping out was Romney plus 15. If that were true (and Gumby said it, so it must be) and Romney only lost ONE point today, then it stands to reason that yesterday’s Gallup survey was Romney +8. (Lose seven Romney points (+15 vs. today, +8), divde by 7 days, Romney loses one point on the 7 day rolling average, ergo, Romney +8 during Gallup’s polling yesterday.

I’ll take it!

levi on October 22, 2012 at 1:08 PM

levi on October 22, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Here you go:

Gallup has been in that range for a week because of the one horrible outlier day of polling (and they use a seven day average), which showed Romney up around 15, iirc.

gumbyandpokey on October 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM

The operative words in his post were “if I recall correctly.” He didn’t.

Resist We Much on October 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

I hate Washington DC.
Ms. Dunn’s activities are a perfect example of what is so wrong with that place.
Democrats and Republicans alike.
We get our say every two years, at best. For those folks, it is every day, all day. For pay.
We lose.

Jabberwock on October 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Blatant Hypocrisy You Can Believe In!

pilamaye on October 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM

My recollection is that no one ever proved a connection between the Repubs and Halliburton and other oil companies.

This administration is caught all the time with loans and preferential treatment to corporations, and they are somehow PURE?

PattyJ on October 22, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Obama campaign adviser

…needs to be fired for incompetence.

Highlights from the Obama campaign:
“Romney was a school bully one day 50 yrs ago! He was a vampire capitalist! He put his dog on his car roof! He won’t give women tax-funded birth control! He’s never paid his taxes! He murdered a woman with cancer! His wife who never worked a day in her life! He is going to put you back in chains! He wants to kill Big Bird! He had a binder full of women’s resumes!”

itsnotaboutme on October 22, 2012 at 1:33 PM

I’m not sure it will come up in the debate tonight, which will focus on foreign policy, unless SKDK does a significant amount of lobbying for foreign corporations.

Ed, it is in the NYT link:

It is difficult to penetrate this administration,” said Jason Mahler, a lobbyist for the computer technology company Oracle, which was part of a coalition that hired Ms. Dunn’s firm to push for reduced tax rates on offshore profits.

If it touches on anything outside CONUS, it is fair game. China will come up with their manipulation of their currency, as should this with Oracle lobbying to get reduced tax rates for income overseas.

Patriot Vet on October 22, 2012 at 1:37 PM

The list is long. Too long. And this is just the surface, that which is obvious, or they didn’t even attempt to conceal.

thatsafactjack on October 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

- mullahfication of foreign policy

- mullahfication of courts

Schadenfreude on October 22, 2012 at 1:48 PM

I really hate this administration

cmsinaz on October 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Pollyannas would tell you that hate is an acid that destroys the vessel, but I find it to be a sweet nectar that sustains me.

swinia sutki on October 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

“All that hate’s gonna burn you up kid.”

“It keeps me warm.” -Red Dawn

Battlecruiser-operational on October 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Notice the unnamed sources from the campaign are not pissed that Dunn is advising and lobbying. They’re pissed she’s allowing the connection to be made, and letting her clients talk about it.

If I were Oracle, or XL Pipeline or Twinkies or whoever has RinkyDink on retainer, I would “leak” these raving comments about how useful Dunn is and how “scrupulous” she’s being about her advising and lobbying as a way to leverage the concessions they want from the administration.

Because you see, they would be derelict in their fiduciary responsibilities if they didn’t. But now we see the disgusting path of cronyism and picking winners and losers. She has placed these ethically-challenged political apes in a position of giving the corporations free rein or permits to shut them up. What a rotten well of slime these people are.

Why should a food manufacturer have to be lobbying anyone? Get rid of the subsidies. Same rules for everyone.

But no, the most we get is outrage that she dares to sign her name to the White House guest book when she should be meeting with Obama and his surrogates off the record, like they do.

winoceros on October 22, 2012 at 2:34 PM

I bet it comes up in the debate [Monday] as a question of Obama ethics.

No it won’t. Everyone knows that Barry has no ethics.

GarandFan on October 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Do as I say, Not as I do, is Change the media now allows.

FlaMurph on October 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM