Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Obama has stated continuously that he will not accept money from Lobbyists and PAC’s.

But wait… lets take a look and see how he got to where he is now… as far as backing….

Read and discuss in the comments if you would like.

(credit goes to the ladies of The McCain Ravelry for finding this)


From the Columbia Journalism Review

To explain: Opensecrets.org, the Web site of the Center for Responsive Politics, is the most authoritative source on campaign finances. Basing its reports on data from the Federal Election Commission, the Center shows that Obama indeed doesn’t take much money from a sector the Center calls “lobbyists.” Through the end of December, Clinton received more than $800,000 and McCain around $400,000 from this group, which the Center says includes people who work for lobbying firms at the local, state, and federal level and their relatives who are not otherwise employed, as well as those who are officially registered as Washington lobbyists. Obama received contributions of about just $86,000 from this group. Obama’s Web site says he doesn’t take money from Washington lobbyists or political action committees,and the Center says that if his campaign finds that the money came from registered Washington lobbyists, it does get returned.

Also from the Boston Globe, Obama has been doing this for a while…

In Obama’s eight years in the Illinois Senate, from 1996 to 2004, almost two-thirds of the money he raised for his campaigns – $296,000 of $461,000 – came from PACs, corporate contributions, or unions, according to Illinois Board of Elections records. He tapped financial services firms, real estate developers, healthcare providers, oil companies, and many other corporate interests, the records show.

Obama’s US Senate campaign committee, starting with his successful run in 2004, has collected $128,000 from lobbyists and $1.3 million from PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that tracks money in politics. His $1.3 million from PACs represents 8 percent of what he has raised overall. Clinton’s Senate committee, by comparison, has raised $3 million from PACs, 4 percent of her total amount raised, the group said.

In addition, Obama’s own federal PAC, Hopefund, took in $115,000 from 56 PACs in the 2005-2006 election cycle out of $4.4 million the PAC raised, according to CQ MoneyLine, which collects Federal Election Commission data. Obama then used those PAC contributions – including thousands from defense contractors, law firms, and the securities and insurance industries – to build support for his presidential run by making donations to Democratic Party organizations and candidates around the country.

But wait – he says that that all stopped when he started his Presidential campaign… NOT

Though Obama has returned thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from registered federal lobbyists since he declared his candidacy in February, his presidential campaign has maintained ties with lobbyists and lobbying firms to help raise some of the $58.9 million he collected through the first six months of 2007. Obama has raised more than $1.4 million from members of law and consultancy firms led by partners who are lobbyists, The Los Angeles Times reported last week. And The Hill, a Washington newspaper, reported earlier this year that Obama’s campaign had reached out to lobbyists’ networks to use their contacts to help build his fund-raising base.

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Obama’s Lame Claim About McCain’s Money

Obama says McCain is “fueled” by money from lobbyists and PACs, but those sources account for less than 1.7 percent of McCain’s money.
Summary
Obama announced he would become the first presidential candidate since 1972 to rely totally on private donations for his general election campaign, opting out of the system of public financing and spending limits that was put in place after the Watergate scandal.

One reason, he said, is that “John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs.”

We find that to be a large exaggeration and a lame excuse. In fact, donations from PACs and lobbyists make up less than 1.7 percent of McCain’s total receipts, and they account for only about 1.1 percent of the RNC’s receipts.

Analysis
Sen. Barack Obama declared June 19 that he would not accept public funds for his general election campaign and would instead finance it entirely with private donations. Or, as he put it, with money from “the American people.” He thus will not be bound by the spending limits that would have come with taxpayer money, and he will be legally free to spend as much as he can manage to raise.
A Lame Excuse


However, the first of the two reasons he gave for his decision doesn’t square very well with the facts. In a video recording sent to supporters, Obama said:

Obama: We face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs.

To say that either the McCain campaign or the RNC are “fueled” by money from lobbyists and PACs is an overstatement, to say the least. Such funds make up less than 1.7 percent of McCain’s presidential campaign receipts and 1.1 percent of the RNC’s income.

McCain – As of the end of April, the McCain campaign had reported receiving $655,576 from lobbyists, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That is less than seven-tenths of 1 percent of his total receipts of $96,654,783.
His campaign also took in $960,990 from PACs, amounting to just under 1 percent of total receipts. The two sources combined make up less than 1.7 percent of his total.

RNC – The Republican National Committee has raised $143,298,225, of which only $135,000 has been come from lobbyists, according to the CRP. That’s less than one-tenth of 1 percent. It also took in about 1 percent of its receipts from PACs, CRP said. Taken together, that’s about 1.1 percent from PACs and lobbyists.

Obama’s Advantage


It’s not our place to comment on the wisdom or propriety of Obama’s financial strategy, except to note that it is perfectly legal and also that McCain and Obama both refused to accept public funds or spending limits during the primary campaign.

We also note that Obama’s decision –  whatever may have motivated it – is likely to give him a big financial advantage over McCain in the weeks just before the November election. This is a reversal of the historic pattern, in which Republican candidates have nearly always been able to out-raise their Democratic rivals. Had Obama accepted public funds, as McCain is expected to do, both candidates would have been limited to spending $84.1 million, all of it from taxpayers. But Obama has shown the potential for raising and spending much more.

The Obama campaign already has raised $265 million through the end of April, more than two-and-a-half times as much as McCain has taken in. Figures for May are due out soon. The Obama campaign said on May 6 that it had surpassed 1.5 million individual donors, and it probably has many more than that by now. All of those primary donors are legally free to make new contributions to finance Obama’s general election campaign, which officially commences after he becomes certified as the Democratic party’s nominee at the convention at the end of August.

Footnotes


The lobbyist figures we give here could stand some minor refinement. The totals might be reduced somewhat if the CRP used Obama’s rather narrow definition of “lobbyist.” Obama makes a point of refusing money from those who are currently registered to lobby at the federal level. The CRP has a broader definition, counting money from anyone working at a lobbying firm, registered or not, state or federal, and their families as well. By CRP’s definition Obama himself has taken in $161,927 from lobbyists.

On the other hand, CRP does not count registered lobbyists who work in-house for corporations, industry groups and unions, but classifies them with their industries. Adding those in-house lobbyists to the total could increase the amounts somewhat. But adding donations from in-house lobbyists and subtracting donations from those who don’t meet Obama’s strict definition would not be likely to change the total by much, and certainly not by enough to justify Obama’s claim that McCain and the RNC are “fueled” by such donations.

Also, for what it’s worth, the Democratic National Committee has historically been far more reliant on PAC and lobbyist money than the RNC. In 2004, PACs provided about 10 percent of the DNC’s total fundraising and only about 1 percent of the RNC’s total, according to the CRP. Obama, after he sewed up enough delegates to win the party’s nomination, sent word to the DNC to stop accepting PAC and lobbyist donations.

-by Brooks Jackson

Sources

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.: