Clinton Camp Circulates Misleading Memo About Obama Oil Company Donations
by oregonkcg, Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 10:53:39 AM EDT
Here's the memo:
False Advertising: New Obama Ad Falsely Claims He Does Not Accept Money From Oil Companies
Phil Singer: "It's unfortunate that Senator Obama is using false advertising to explain why he can be trusted to do something about energy prices. Senator Obama says he doesn't take campaign contributions from oil companies but the reality is that Exxon, Shell, and others are among his donors. I wonder if they'll fix the ad."
A new ad by Sen. Obama running in Pennsylvania falsely claims that Sen. Obama does not accept money from the oil industry. In the ad, Sen. Obama says "I'm Barack Obama and I don't take money from oil companies or lobbyists and I won't let them block change anymore."
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Sen. Obama has received over $160,000 from the oil and gas companies. Two major bundlers for his campaign -- George Kaiser and Robert Cavnar - are oil company CEOs. Sen. Obama has accepted money from Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron and just about every other major oil company. Just last month, Sen. Obama accepted another $8,400 from ExxonMobil, $12,370 from Chevron and $6,500 from British Petroleum.
In 2005, Sen. Obama voted for the Dick Cheney energy bill, which was written in secret with the oil industry. Hillary Clinton opposed Cheney's energy bill, has a plan to eliminate oil industry tax breaks, and would require oil companies to contribute to a $50 billion strategic energy fund to jumpstart research and investment in clean energy technologies.
Claiming that a candidate has "taken... money from" a certain entity or industry is false and misleading.
The above Clinton campaign memo is trying to incorrectly imply that Obama is accepting money from oil and gas-funded PACs and/or lobbyists.
The problem with this is that when they make the claim that "Sen. Obama has received over $160,000 from the oil and gas companies", they are relying on reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission by their opponents, which contain a variety of details on each of their donors. Federal law requires that these donor reports contain the name of each donor's employer.
As a result, when a candidate makes a claim that their opponent "accept[s] money from" a certain company they are simply saying that certain employees of that company made a donation to their opponent.In other words, it could be a VP of that company, or a Secretary, or a Janitor.
With this laid out there, I'm sure you see where I am going with this.
When Hillary Clinton says that Obama "Sen. Obama has received over $160,000 from the oil and gas companies", they are purposefully using this statement to implant an insidious implication in the listener that somehow the company or industry in question is somehow undertaking a company-wide effort to bankroll Obama.
However, if you stop and think about it, this is ludicrous. Especially when you consider that corporations are prohibited by federal law from making donations to a presidential candidate!
As a thought exercise to flesh this out in your mind, go to a site like Open Secrets that lets you search the donor records for the presidential candidates. Then go ahead and search for donations by your employer or a well-known employer like Wal-Mart. If you do a Wal-Mart search, you'll see that a variety of people have donated to presidential campaigns, including a Dock Worker, a Buyer and a Computer Consultant.
Addressing the Clinton Campaign specific allegation about receiving donations from "oil and gas companies", you'll note from an Open Secrets search on Exxon that a variety of different types of people have donated to the Obama campaign, including a Physician, an Engineer, a Rackman, and a "Global Training Advisor.
Wrapping up this point, my ultimate complaint is that when Hillary Clinton says that Obama "Sen. Obama has received over $160,000 from the oil and gas companies", she is basically laboring under the assumption that we are either idiots or ignorant of what she's really talking about. She is intentionally trying to plant a false and misleading insinuation that somehow the subprime lenders are in the tank for Obama and making nefarious plans to get him elected. This is categorically untrue.