Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??
by indydem99, Sun May 25, 2008 at 01:21:03 PM EDT
We have seen through out this primary campaign Sen. Obama talk tough against special interests and lobbyists. He has accused Hillary Clinton campaign and more recently McCain campaign rightly so of lobbyist connections.
What we have not been aware of is his hypocrisy in dealing with this issue. An investigative report called "A memo to Senator Obama" by News Week's Michael Isikoff is an eye opener. Before any of you jump up and down and fake the same outrage that you have shown the past two days, take note that the same Isikoff is the author of "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War".
Sen. Obama seems to believe in a very narrow definition of who a lobbyist is. He seems to have no problem with "Trojan Horse" organizations that pretend as if devoted to public interest but actually crated by corporations that push their agenda.
When Illinois utility Commonwealth Edison wanted state lawmakers to back a hefty rate hike two years ago, it took a creative lobbying approach, concocting a new outfit that seemed devoted to the public interest: Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity, or CORE. CORE ran TV ads warning of a "California-style energy crisis" if the rate increase wasn't approved--but without disclosing the commercials were funded by Commonwealth Edison. The ad campaign provoked a brief uproar when its ties to the utility, which is owned by Exelon Corp., became known. "It's corporate money trying to hoodwink the public," the state's Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said. What got scant notice then--but may soon get more scrutiny--is that CORE was the brainchild of ASK Public Strategies, a consulting firm whose senior partner is David Axelrod, now chief strategist for Barack Obama.
Obama's aides say their candidate, as a foe of "special interests," has refused to take money from lobbyists or employ them. Neither Axelrod nor his partners at ASK ever registered as lobbyists for Commonwealth Edison--and under Illinois's loose disclosure laws, they were not required to. "I've never lobbied anybody in my life," Axelrod tells NEWSWEEK. "I've never talked to any public official on behalf of a corporate client." (He also says "no one ever denied" that Edison was the "principal funder" of his firm's ad campaign.)
But the activities of ASK (located in the same office as Axelrod's political firm) illustrate the difficulties in defining exactly who a lobbyist is.
Exelon, lobbied Obama two years ago on a nuclear bill; the firm's executives and employees have also been a top source of cash for Obama's campaign, contributing $236,211. Axelrod says he's never talked to Obama about Exelon matters. "I'm not going to public officials with bundles of money on behalf of a corporate client," Axelrod says.
Should I be outraged?? I say NO!!! Unlike many of Sen. Obama's supporters I am not going to fake any outrage. Sen. Obama is a master politician and a wordsmith par excellence. He knows how to use words and how to twist them. More power to him. I say "YESS HE CAN!"
Here is the link: