Obama remains oily on contributions

Barack Obama keeps claiming that he doesn’t take money from oil companies as a way to distinguish himself from his rivals. However, the Los Angeles Times shows once again that Obama lies about this in a particularly bald manner, having oil executives set up fundraisers for him as late as last month:

Sen. Barack Obama continued accepting donations from oil company executives and employees last month even as he aired ads in which he stated he took no oil company money, his campaign finance reports show.

Obama has taken at least $263,000 from oil company executives, family members and employees since entering the presidential race last year, including $46,000 last month. At least $140,000 has come in chunks of between $1,000 and $2,300, the maximum permitted under federal law.

Texas oil executive Robert L. Cavnar of Milagro Exploration and his wife, Gracie, have helped the Illinois Democrat raise at least another $50,000 by helping host a fundraiser earlier in the campaign.

Other oil industry donors have included Sinclair Oil President Ross Matthews of Texas and John B. Hess, chairman of Hess Corp., a New York-based oil producer and retailer with operations worldwide. Hess, who has given to other presidential candidates, including Sen. John McCain, gave $2,300 to Obama last year, as did his wife, Susan. Hess gave $14,000 to Obama’s Senate run in 2003. The oil executives did not return phone calls.

Only in the Clintonian sense can Obama’s statement in his ads that he doesn’t “take money from oil companies or Washington lobbyists” be taken as true. Companies cannot contribute to political campaigns. However, its executives certainly can, and a number of oil-industry CEOs have already done so. Even as the ad aired in Pennsylvania, Obama took oil money from personal donations, bundling, and fundraisers.

Is there anything inherently wrong with taking money from people in the oil industry? No, except in two circumstances: if one publicly demonizes the entire industry or if they claim not to be taking its money. Obama actually manages to do both in the same ad, making both a liar and a hypocrite at the same time.

Is this New Politics, hope and change, the signal of the political Messiah that will lead us out of the partisan wilderness? Or is this just another huckster with no experience and plenty of chutzpah?