To be fair, Barack Obama did promise during the 2008 campaign to make lobbyists into pariahs in Washington DC. His campaign still refuses to accept direct contributions from lobbying shops, even if his promise to never hire lobbyists ended up producing dozens of waivers, and even if his stimulus bill could have been described as the Lobbyist Full Employment Act. Now that Obama has deigned to allow lobbyists to donate to his super-PAC, they must be rushing to fill its coffers … right? Right?
Democratic lobbyists who have been barred from fundraising for President Obama’s campaign are showing little interest in donating instead to a super-PAC that supports him.
Unlike Obama’s official campaign, the Priorities USA Action super-PAC accepts donations from registered lobbyists. The president gave his blessing to Priorities earlier this month, giving K Street a place to contribute cash to his reelection efforts.
Except it turns out that K Street wasn’t looking for a back door to fund Obama’s re-election effort:
“Did a great ‘huzzah’ go up among lobbyists when it was apparent that although we can’t give to the Obama reelect directly, we can [give] to the super-PAC that shares that goal? No,” said Robert Raben, the president and founder of the Raben Group and a former aide to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).
Tony Podesta, the chairman of the Podesta Group and one of the Democratic Party’s biggest fundraisers, said he has no plans to fundraise or contribute to the pro-Obama super-PAC.
“I may well give to them, but the fact the president now wants me to doesn’t incent me further,” he said.
So now it can be said that Obama was against lobbyists before he was for them. They’re not buying Obama’s re-election bid either way. But don’t fret too much for the President — at least Obama always has … Bill Maher.