Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

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:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/138519

Tags: Axel Rod, Common wealth Edision, Exelon, obama (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

You with McCain on this?

by spacemanspiff 2008-05-25 01:26PM | 0 recs
Obama has NO paid lobbyists

as his campaign advisers.

by puma 2008-05-25 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama has NO paid lobbyists

Agreed

by indydem99 2008-05-25 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

And Exelong is one of Obama's hugest contributors.  Over 250K so far.  And that bought them his supporting Nucelar Energy and voting for Cheney's Energy Bill and his continuous campaign promise to have his Corporations at his policy making table.  Oh yeah....such sweetness, for the Lobbyists and Special Interests.

by LindaSFNM 2008-05-25 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

Don't forget, he's taken literally hundreds of thousands of dollars from The Home Depot, putting him literally in the pocket of Big Home Improvement.

by ragekage 2008-05-25 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

Um.....I'm gonna go ahead and guess you think he's a "friend", given the Faux News-like title question.

It's a simple formula - posit an idea or smear they are trying to push b/c it benefits their agenda, and disguise it as a question.

Some not too far-fetched examples:

Obama - Most liberal Senator ever??????

99% of Democrats gay?????????

Hillary Clinton - the strongest Dmeocrat against John McCain?????

Ted Kennedy - murderer??????

by Deano963 2008-05-25 01:31PM | 0 recs
It is not my report!

It is an invetigative report from Isikoff. News Week has been a great supporter of Obma. Did you not read the cover story last week?

by indydem99 2008-05-25 01:34PM | 0 recs
Obama's Lobbyist Line

from Columbia Journalism Review
http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/obamas_ lobbyist_line.php

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.

How meaningful is this? "It's a politically smart position for him to take. It sounds profound," says Massie Ritsch, communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics. "But in fact neither PACs nor lobbyists give a lot to presidential campaigns. He's not leaving a whole lot of money on the table by eschewing PACs and lobbyists." PAC money represents only about one percent of all the money in a presidential race because, Ritsch says, so many people donate that their contributions dwarf PAC money.

Significantly, the Center's lobbyist sector excludes in-house lobbyists who work solely for one company, union, trade association, or other group. These people may lobby, but their contributions are grouped in the totals for the various industries they represent, along with contributions from other employees in the sector, their relatives, whatever PAC money has been raised, and donations from trade and professional associations which, of course, carry lots of weight in the horse trading that occurs when legislation is drafted. (Corporations cannot contribute directly to candidates.)

Contributions made by the various industry sectors tell the real story in a presidential race. And Opensecrets.org shows that Obama is picking up gobs of money put on the table by these special interests--including those involved in health care, which will surely have a lot riding on the outcome of the election and will expect to be heard after the election is over.

by observer5 2008-05-25 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

Another Obama-bashing diary.....yawn....

by hootie4170 2008-05-25 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

Obama needs to divorce himself from the lobbying community...I will vote for him over McCain, who would represent four more years of Bush, but as John Edwards said, "We can't substitute corporate Democrats for corporate Republicans."

The Democratic Party needs to heed Edwards' call and get rid of the undue influence of lobbyists...we cannot be "Republican light."

by kakie 2008-05-25 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

Head over to FEC.gov and take a look at his running total of contributions from PACs and lobbyists; it's public information.

by ragekage 2008-05-25 01:56PM | 0 recs
Just more of the same

Senator Obama will eventually come to be known as King of Unrealistic Expectations. If elected, he will be no less beholden to monied interests than the other Senators would be under the same sets of rules and definitions. Once again, the Newsweek reporter simply catches Obama & Co playing wordgames with the naive and otherwise hoodwinked.

by pan230oh 2008-05-25 01:40PM | 0 recs
And Obama loves to dole out pork to polit. contr.

The Chicago Tribune did a long story on how Obama repaid his political donors when he was in the IL legislature.  http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainm ent/chi-0705030035may03,0,7803217.story

Examples:

"In 2001, for example, Obama steered $75,000 to a South Side charity called FORUM Inc., which promised to help churches and community groups get wired to the Internet. Records show five FORUM employees, including one who had declared bankruptcy, had donated $1,000 apiece to Obama's state Senate campaign."

One of those long-time supporters was Rev. Michael Pfleger, the politically active leader of St. Sabina Church. He gave Obama's campaign $1,500 between 1995 and 2001, including $200 in April 2001, about three months after Obama announced $225,000 in grants to St. Sabina programs.

by katmandu1 2008-05-25 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

Words, just words.

Ob took money from Rezko and his friends for all his races in Illinois.  When Rezko goes down next week (the jury is deliberating now), he'll turn states evidence and then take down Ob and the Gov.
"Change", I think he means loose change.

by JohnnyB 2008-05-25 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

Foe.

by catilinus 2008-05-25 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Sen Obama a friend or foe to Lobbyists??

friend

by nikkid 2008-05-25 02:34PM | 0 recs

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