Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Obama's Allies: PACS, Lobbyists, Bundlers and Big Oil!

At a White House Press briefing on Wednesday, Press Secretary and master rhetorician, Robert Gibbs, was asked by a reporter: "Has anyone inside the White House suggested that the Obama campaign might want to give back any donations that came from Goldman Sachs personnel?"

Obama raised $996,595 from Goldman employees during the Presidential campaign.

Gibbs responded: "The President doesn’t take, and didn’t in the campaign, take PAC money, [and] doesn’t take money from registered federal lobbyists."

The American Thinker, in a July 2008 post entitled, "Obama The PAC-Man", noted that the SEIU's PAC "spent over $9 million during a crucial three month period to help Obama secure the Democrats' nomination." CNS News reported that "the SEIU political action committee made more than $27 million in independent expenditures in support of Obama’s presidential campaign, according to a filing the PAC made with the Federal Election Commission."

$27 Million! MERCY!

But apparently, "independent expenditures" don't count, as far as Obama and Robert Gibbs are concerned. Hmmm...

The FEC defines "independent expenditures' as follows:
An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication 'expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate's authorized committee, or their agents, or a political party or its agents.
The American thinker makes the following observation:
FEC rules require that such so-called "independent expenditures" by political committees be limited to communications, such as the ubiquitous TV spots and newspaper ads to which we have all become accustomed, but SEIU's PACs have paid for such campaign essentials as door-to-door canvassing for Obama, voter identification and registration, and even bus rental and food for pro-Obama rallies.
The American Thinker also notes:
By opting out of accepting cash donations directly from PACs -- just as he became the first major party candidate to opt out of federal funding and the restrictions that come with it -- Obama steered the committees who support him, and whose support he [sought], down a path which allows limitless spending on his behalf. And has he ever benefited from it!

Federal records show that Obama has been the beneficiary of "independent" expenditures from, NARAL, the United Food & Commercial Workers International, and other PACs. But the Big Daddy to the Big O has been SEIU...

The SEIU announced on June 24th that they plan "a budget of $85 million for the [2008 Presidential] election, targeting swing states for Obama's presidential campaign" and other candidates...

As if to intentionally add new heights to political hypocrisy, the announcement followed by mere days Obama's pronouncement that the Democratic National Committee "won't take another dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. They do not fund my campaign. They will not fund our party."

He even managed to say it with a straight face.

Now that is audacity.
From the USA Today, April 16, 2008:
Obama tied to lobbyists, but boasts of not taking money

Barack Obama often boasts he is "the only candidate who isn't taking a dime from Washington lobbyists," yet his fundraising team includes 38 members of law firms that were paid $138 million last year to lobby the federal government, records show.

Those lawyers, including 10 former federal lobbyists, have pledged to raise at least $3.5 million for the Illinois senator's presidential race. Employees of their firms have given Obama's campaign $2.26 million, a USA TODAY analysis of campaign finance data shows.

Thirty-one of the 38 are law firm partners, who typically receive a share of their firm's lobbying fees. At least six of them have some managerial authority over lobbyists.

"It makes no difference whether the person is a registered lobbyist or the partner of a registered lobbyist, if the person is raising money to get access or curry favor," said Michael Malbin, director of the Campaign Finance Institute, a non-partisan think tank.
FactCheck. org noted that although Obama claimed that he never accepted money from lobbyists, this is ultimately "a bit of hair-splitting." Obama might not have received contributions from individuals who were registered lobbyists of the federal government, but he did accept money from "their spouses and from other individuals at firms where lobbyists work. And some of his bigger fundraisers were registered lobbyists until they signed on with the Obama campaign."

Earlier this year, when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions have no limits on how much they can spend on campaign ads, President Obama stated: "With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans."

Yet, despite all the rhetoric, the Obama campaign raked in $20 million from the health care industry.

During the Presidential campaign Obama stated emphatically: "I don’t take money from oil companies", and yet he accepted more than $213,000 in contributions from individuals who work for, or whose spouses work for, companies in the oil and gas industry.

Two oil industry executives, who bundled money for Obama, were listed on his Web site as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama's presidential campaign.

According to the Center for Responsible Politics, "campaign bundlers" directed at least $76,500,000 to Obama's Presidential campaign.

USA Today noted that many of these bundlers currently occupy key positions in the Obama administration:
More than 40% of President Obama's top-level fundraisers have secured posts in his administration, from key executive branch jobs to diplomatic postings in countries such as France, Spain and the Bahamas.

Twenty of the 47 fundraisers that Obama's campaign identified as collecting more than $500,000 have been named to government positions, the analysis found.

Overall, about 600 individuals and couples raised money... to help fund Obama's presidential campaign. USA TODAY's analysis found that 54 have been named to government positions...
Incidentally, according to the Center for Responsible Politics [June 2008], securities and investment companies contributed $7.9 million to Obama's Presidential campaign.


To borrow part of a statement issued by the President in January regarding the Supreme Court's decision to roll back campaign spending limits [the statement was cited earlier in this post]:
The Presidential campaign of Barack Obama [in 2008] "has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics."

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