Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Obama Owes His Rise to Lobbyists

We get by with a little help from our friends. On the right is Antoin Rezko, indicted in Chicago for public corruption.

Obama has not dismissed people who are lobbyists and has no rules vetting lobbyists who are in his camp. Though Obama owes his rise in Illinois politics to financial and other support from lobbyists and PACs, Obama continues to assert his “new” approach to the influence in Washington of special interests.

Wal-mart, British Petroleum, and Lockheed Martin lobbyists provided payments to the Obama political campaigns in the past, according to public documents.

According to Jen Psaki, Obama campaign spokeswoman, Obama decided to announce a change to a “new” approach in the presidential campaign. As things stand, Obama has not yet rooted out lobbyists in his campaign nor made rules which preclude their participation as John McCain has done.

The Boston Globe reports the following:

Obama's campaign finance records shows that he collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and PACs as a state legislator in Illinois, a US senator, and a presidential aspirant.
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.

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.

That was then, and this is now. Again, the voters must rely on Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki to clarify the “new” approach by Mr. Hope and Change. After going to Washington, she says, Obama was shocked, shocked, completely shocked after seeing the influence of lobbyists first-hand during his three years in Washington. Barack Obama’s politico-religious conversion quickly ensued.

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