He’s An Old-School Playa ….

Posted: June 12, 2008 in Funding, Obama, Policy, Social Issues

I came across this rather interesting article during my web surfing. Interesting because of the assertion of a “new style politics”. Feel free to leave comments for discussion or your impressions.


From No Quarter

ABC Ignores Obama’s Misleading Message

about Lobbyists’ Money

Some bloggers are upset with Barack Obama for giving conflicting responses about the flag-pin non-issue (Little Green Footballs via Memeorandum).  Aside from admiring Nancy Pelosi’s pearls, I don’t care about politicians’ jewelry.

I do care about mainstream media’s repeated failure to cover the more substantive misleading statements that Sen. Obama has made: chiefly, those about where he gets his campaign funding. 

Today, ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos presented a prime opportunity to spotlight this important issue, but George and his guests chose not to.

 

George shared a video clip of an Obama campaign TV ad running in Indiana, in which Sen. Obama states that he does not take money from lobbyists.

Technically, that may be true, but it’s a highly misleading statement.

Obama reportedly stopped taking money from registered lobbyists when he announced his candidacy last year: that was after taking more than $1 million in lobbyist- or PAC-generated donations that got his campaign off the ground. (Chicago Tribune)

Recently, Newhouse News Services reported:

“State lobbyists and non-wage-earning spouses of lobbyists and
lobbying firm employees
have contributed $115,163 to Obama’s campaign through March 20, according to the center [for Responsive Politics].”

Oh, that’s right: Obama claims to have not taken money from federally registered lobbyists. Do words really matter in this case? Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported: 

“Sen. Barack Obama raised more than $1 million in the first three months of his presidential campaign from law firms and companies that have major lobbying operations in the nation’s capital.”

This month, USA Today  reported:

Obama accepts money from spouses of federal lobbyists. In December, the campaign returned a $250 contribution from lobbyist Thomas Jensen of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, but a few
days later, it cashed a $500 check from his wife, Sarah, records show….”

Obama holds fundraisers at law firms that lobby in Washington. Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed the campaign held five fundraisers at New York and Boston offices of three firms that lobby, including Greenberg Traurig [the same firm that lobbyist-turned-prison-inmate Jack Abramoff had worked for]….”

The Hill ran a story in March 2007, which states that an Obama fund raiser specifically asked a lobbyist 1) for his wife’s donation, and 2) for access to that lobbyist’s business contacts.

Then there’s the issue of lobbyists who don’t actually sign donation checks but who bundle other people’s checks.  When lobbyists bundle donations, Candidates know whom to thank. 

SourceWatch has an entire section, with sources, on lobbyists’ bundling for Obama.

Then there’s the matter of corporate cash.  Sen. Obama claims that he is not beholden to corporate interests, because he doesn’t take money from corporations.  No federal candidates take money directly from corporations, because that’s illegal (Tillman Act of 1907).

Instead, the longstanding tradition among candidates is to take donations from corporate executives, employees and PACs.  Obama certainly has been part of that tradition, as the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month:

“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 [likely not from janitors and receptionists]….”

According to Newhouse News services, Sen. Obama:

“People in the oil and gas industries have given $222,309 to Obama. He received $528,765 from the pharmaceutical and health industry, making him the largest recipient of the sector’s largesse.

“Obama’s Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, has raised $309,363 from the oil and gas industry and $506,001 from the health care and pharmaceutical industry.”

Given the last quote, obviously my point is not that Obama is more or less tainted than other candidates.  As long as our campaign-finance system is riddled with loopholes, most federal candidates will take special-interest cash.  Period.

My point is this: Obama has taken special-interest money while falsely claiming that his campaign coffers are untainted.

In short, Obama is a player in the old Washington game — he just tells voters that he’s not.

The obvious reality and hypocrisy matter, because they go to the heart of a major plank in Obama’s campaign platform.  For months, he has marketed himself as a clean outsider who is, therefore, better able to change Washington than any other candidate.

Obama has received support from many hopeful people who believe the misleading claims and comparisons underlying Obama’s image.

The money trail is where the truth about politics tends to reveal itself — and the money trail suggests that Obama is just as tainted by special-interest cash and just as entrenched in old-style politics as any other candidate.

Now, if only more mainstream-media would fulfill their duty to us viewers and actually spotlight these issues and inconsistencies….

Incidentally, Larry Johnson at No Quarter posted a piece yesterday about following a different Obama money trail.

Lastly, the Center for Responsive Politics has tables of the three presidential candidates’ top-20 industry-connected donations:  Barack ObamaHillary ClintonJohn McCain.:

 

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Comments
  1. sfokc6125 says:

    Hi Mr. M,

    I suspect that it would be hard for them to get the courts to allow it’s release. But that is certainly an interesting perspective. I just hope we don’t wake up on Wednesday with him being the President-elect.

    Jason

    On Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 11:49 AM, wrote:
    Has anyone looked into the LA tape as a matter for Homeland Security ? Seeing Obama is running for the top of the chain of command it only reasons that you look into any associations with known terrorists. Under the Patriot Act they don’t have to give it to GOP but they do have to turn it in to Homeland Security .

    – State Representative Jason W. Murphey Vice-Chairman Homeland Security Committee State Capitol Building Room #400B 2300 North Lincoln Blvd Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105 1(405) 557-7350 (Office) 1(405) 315-5064 (Cell) 1(405) 962-7660 (Fax) http://www.HouseDistrict31.com

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