Clinton Camp Circulates Misleading Memo About Obama Oil Company Donations

More on the Clinton campaign's continuing efforts to mislead us about how much money certain companies and industries are giving to the Obama campaign, her campaign today released another highly misleading memo that tries to paint another insidious picture about Obama.

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.

Tags: Hillary Clinton, Kitchen Sink, Misleading Memos (all tags)



Clinton Campaign = More Lies

Phil Singer and other Clinton campaign staff are stupid.

Corporations are forbidden from making political donations.  So it is dishonest to say that a candidate received money from a company.

Now Obama has some 2 million ordinary supporters that have given an average of $109 each.  These supporters and Americans from all works of life and might be employees of Wal-Mart, Exxon, B of A, Citibank, Wells Fargo, etc. but that does not mean that Obama accepts money from those companies.

On the other hand the Clinton campaign accepts money from Federal lobbyists and special interest PACs that lobby on behalf of those companies in an official capacity.

by igwealth5tm 2008-03-28 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton Campaign = More Lies

It just drives me crazy to see memos like this that basically assume we are all idiots and won't factcheck them.

by oregonkcg 2008-03-28 11:13AM | 0 recs
What is the percentage of his money that comes

from large donations?

Your use of this 'average donation' and percentage of donations language falsely implies that most of his MONEY comes from small donors..

You should stop doing that.

by architek 2008-03-28 04:28PM | 0 recs
More Obama hypocrisy

Given that a pillar of Obama's campaign is his attack on Clinton for taking money from industry, I doubt this hypocritical defense of Obama will get any traction. We all know Obama is deep in the muck of money politics, his career was bankrolled by a guy on trial for corruption charges.  This feeble attempt to explain the nuances of the campaign finance system so late in the game just demonstrates how deeply dishonest Obama was when he made reform a central theme of his campaign.

by souvarine 2008-03-28 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: More Obama hypocrisy

I really don't understand what you're saying.  This diary is about the memo above that accuses Obama of taking money from oil companies.  How do you think a dock worker, secretary or physician -- who happens to work for an oil company -- is a donation FROM an oil company?  

Corporation are forbidden by law from donating a PENNY to a candidate's campaign.

by oregonkcg 2008-03-28 11:15AM | 0 recs
How about the 2 CEO bundlers?

That's not from an oil company?

by Trickster 2008-03-28 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: How about the 2 CEO bundlers?

That's not the part of the memo I analyze in my article above.

by oregonkcg 2008-03-28 11:48AM | 0 recs

I can see that it's not, but why not?  Seems like your thesis is not that convincing when you ignore the most damning evidence against it.

by Trickster 2008-03-28 11:59AM | 0 recs
Lots of companies give lots of donations

in individual employees names..

or haven't you noticed?

If you go to opensecrets or the huffington web site you will notice that those donations come in patterns, a large number at a time..

by architek 2008-03-28 04:30PM | 0 recs
The variety of people who donated

including "a Physician, an Engineer, a Rackman, and a "Global Training Advisor," also includes "[t]wo major bundlers for his campaign -- George Kaiser and Robert Cavnar - [who] are oil company CEOs."

When you've got oil company CEOs bundling for your campaign maybe you should turn the volume down a notch on the not-accepting-oil-money trumpet.

But this is a pattern.  Obama rarely gives a speech--and never stands on a debate stage next to Hillary Clinton--without proclaiming that he doesn't accept contribution from federal lobbyists.  What he fails to mention is that he does happily accept money from registered state lobbyists--as if federal lobbyists are completely unable to launder contributions through their state counterparts.

From Michael Bates, 8/10/07, New Media Journal, cited in Sourcewatch's Congresspedia article on Obama:

In terms of money received from the oil and gas industry, Obama ranks third among the eight announced Democratic presidential candidates. He does the same with insurance, again coming in third. First place is reserved for Senator Christopher Dodd who, in his capacity as a committee chairman, can investigate the insurance industry if he wants to. Obama is number two in contributions from the pharmaceuticals and health products industry.

Senator Obama didn't include banking interests among those nefarious special interests. Then again, with over $600,000 so far, he ranks number one among all candidates of either party in money from commercial banks.

And you may have noticed he didn't mention teachers' unions either. Surely that has little to do with the $1.3 million he's gotten from the education industry, again putting him at the top spot among all announced Democrats and Republicans. ...

Let's see him return the more than $5 million he's taken from lawyers and law firms. He can also send back the more than $3 million from the securities and investment industry and attach a letter saying he doesn't need or want special interest funding.

Then there's the $1.3 million from real estate, the $1.3 million from the entertainment industry, and the $652,000 from hedge funds and private equity sources he's accepted so far. Send it back with regrets. He could bow out of Oprahlalooza next month, saying that he doesn't want to give even the slightest hint of impropriety by accepting all that dough from fat cats.

Moreover, he could return the $7,885 he's taken from what used to be called Big Tobacco. Or if he's still not been able to give up that filthy habit - smoking cigarettes that is, not taking special interest money -, he could request an in-kind contribution.

Senator Obama has benefited significantly from "bundling," which involves supporters collecting smaller contributions, putting them all together, and giving them to a politician. According to Public Citizens's White House for Sale Web site, Barack's had 262 "bundlers" each gather at least $50,000 for him. One is Commonwealth Edison chairman Frank Clark.

Perhaps the utility's millions of customers who saw rates skyrocket by 24 percent on average wish he'd spend less time on politics and more on providing energy at a reasonable cost.
Barry is trying to distance himself from other candidates by suggesting that when it comes to political cash he's different than the others. He's purer than pure. It'd be easier to take his self-righteous pontificating about how malevolent the special interests are if he didn't have both hands out grabbing money from those same sources.

More from the above Sourcewatch link:

While pledging to turn down donations from lobbyists themselves, Senator Obama raised more than $1 million in the first three months of his presidential campaign from law firms and companies that have major lobbying operations in the nation's capital," Dan Morain wrote April 23, 2007, in the Los Angeles Times.[6]

"Portraying himself as a new-style politician determined to reform the capitol, Mr. Obama makes his policy clear in fund-raising invitations, stating that he takes no donations from 'federal lobbyists.' ... The Illinois Democrat's policy of shunning money from lobbyists registered to do business on Capitol Hill does not extend to lawyers whose partners lobby there. Nor does the ban apply to corporations that have major lobby operations in Washington. And the prohibition does not extend to lobbyists who ply their trade in state capitals including Springfield, Ill., Tallahassee, Fla., and Sacramento, Calif., although some deal with national clients and issues," Morain wrote.[7]

"Obama accepts money from lobbyists' spouses and other family members, their partners at the law firms where they work if the partners aren't registered to lobby, senior executives at companies that hire lobbyists, and state-level lobbyists. Among his top fundraisers are at least a few who were registered lobbyists as recently as last year. The campaign says it is making a 'best effort' to stay away from tainted money," according to following the April 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate.[8]

Stephen Weissman of the nonpartisan think tank Campaign Finance Institute said Obama "gets an asterisk that says he is trying to be different ... But overall, the same wealthy interests are funding his campaign as are funding other candidates, whether or not they are lobbyists," Morain wrote.[9]

"Obama and Edwards showed up at the national convention of the lobbying group for the trial lawyers, the former Association of Trial Lawyers of America (who now call themselves the American Association of Justice)," Ted Frank commented August 5, 2007, in the Overlawyered Blog.[10] "There, they gave speeches (as did Clinton, Biden, and Richardson). A look at the largest donors for Obama and especially Edwards shows a disproportionate number of active members of that lobbying group. Indeed, John Edwards's finance chairman is Fred Baron, the former president of ATLA. If Obama and Edwards want voters to believe that Clinton is influenced by lobbyist money, what should we think about these two candidates' debts to trial lawyers? Are we to believe that the critical difference is the lobbyist registration papers, at which point money becomes tainted and dirty?"

"So, when will Sen. Edwards stop taking money from hedge funds? When will Sen. Obama stop taking money from Wall Street banking bundlers?" one blogger asked August 6, 2007.[11]

"In Obama's case, he announced that he wouldn't take money for his presidential campaign from registered lobbyists of the federal government, but the policy is about staking a claim to moral authority, not about actually excluding interested donors," John Hood wrote April 23, 2007, in the National Review Online's The Corner.[12]

Lobbyist bundlers
The following, according to Public Citizen/WhiteHouseForSale,[13] have been identified by the Obama campaign as bundlers who are also lobbyists who contributed to Obama for America.

Frank M. Clark[14] is chairman and chief executive officer of Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation. As an Obama bundler, Clark raised $200,000+. FEC records show that on January 26, 2007, he personally contributed $2,000.[15]
Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank wrote July 4, 2007, in the Dissident Voice.[16]
"Barack, for the second quarter in a row, has surpassed the fundraising prowess of Hillary Clinton. To be sure small online donations have propelled the young senator to the top, but so too have his connections to big industry. The Obama campaign, as of late March 2007, has accepted $159,800 from executives and employees of Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear power plant operator.
"The Illinois-based company also helped Obama's 2004 senatorial campaign. As Ken Silverstein reported in the November 2006 issue of Harper's, '[Exelon] is Obama's fourth largest patron, having donated a total of $74,350 to his campaigns. During debate on the 2005 energy bill, Obama helped to vote down an amendment that would have killed vast loan guarantees for power-plant operators to develop new energy projects ... the public will not only pay millions of dollars in loan costs but will risk losing billions of dollars if the companies default.'"
See Greg Sargent's January 17, 2008, TPMElection Central "Hillary And Obama Duke It Out Over Hillary's Yucca Mountain Ad."[17]
Scott Blake Harris[18] is the managing partner of the Washington, D.C., firm Harris Wiltshire and Grannis, which handles such legislative issues as Communications/Broadcasting/ Radio/TV, Science/Technology, Telecommunications, and Trade (Foreign and Domestic), as well as representing the Computing Technology Industry Association. As an Obama bundler, Harris raised $200,000+. FEC records show that on March 15, 2007, he personally contributed $2,000.[19]
Allan J. Katz[20] is a shareholder and chairman of the Policy Practice Group at Akerman Senterfitt in Tallahassee, Florida. Katz is a Member of the Florida Democratic Committee and Democratic National Committee, and Tallahassee City Commissioner. As an Obama bundler, Katz raised $200,000+ with Marilyn Katz of MK Communications (who personally contributed $1,000 to Obama for America[21] on January 21, 2007).
Robert S. Litt[22] is a partner at the Washington, D.C. firm Arnold & Porter, a regulatory and public affairs firm which represents multiple clients in a variety of industries. As an Obama bundler, Litt raised unknown amount of money. FEC records show that Litt personally contributed $2,300[23] on February 26, 2007 and $2,300[24] on May 2, 2007.
Thomas J. Perrilli[25] is managing partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Jenner and Block, a Chicago general practice law firm, which includes among its clients the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and Time Warner Inc. As an Obama bundler, Perrelli raised $200,000+. FEC records show that Perrelli personally contributed $2,100 on January 16, 2007, and $200 on March 5, 2007;[26] and $2,300 on March 21, 2007.[27]
Thomas A. Reed[28] is Of Counsel at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP (K&L Gates), which represents multiple industries and multiple clients. As an Obama bundler, Reed raised $200,000+. FEC records show that on March 20, 2007, Reed personally contributed $2,300.[29]
Paul N. Roth[30] is a partner at the New York firm Schulte Roth & Zabel, which represents financial institutions, investments, securities, including Cerberus Capital Partners. As an Obama bundler, Roth raised at least $50,000. FEC records show that on March 20, 2007, Roth personally contributed $2,300.[31]
Alan D. Solomont of Solomont Bailis Ventures[32] in Massachusetts represents Health Services/HMOs. As an Obama bundler, Solomont raised $200,000+. FEC records show that Solomont personally contributed $2,100 on January 26, 2007;[33] $2,500 on March 30, 2007;[34] (Rebecca Solomont at the same address made two $2,300 contributions on the same day); and $2,300 on March 30, 2007[35]
Tom E. Wheeler[36] is managing director of Core Capital Partners, a private equity fund in Washington, D.C. As an Obama bundler, Wheeler raised $100,000+. FEC records show that Wheeler personally contributed $2,100 on January 16, 2007;[37] $2,500 on May 2, 2007;[38] and an additional $2,300 on May 2, 2007.[39] (Note: another $2,300 was added then removed also on May 2, 2007.)

Lobbyist endorsements
Roll Call reports the following lobbyist endorsements for Barack Obama.[40]

Kevin Chavous (Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal)
Tom Daschle (Alston & Bird)
Stan Fendley (Corning)
Elizabeth Fox (Jolly/Rissler)
Francis Grab (Washington Council Ernst & Young)
Tim Hannegan (Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates)
Tom Jensen (Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal)
Broderick Johnson (Bryan Cave Strategies)
Mark Keam (Verizon)
Bob Maloney (Maloney Government Relations)
Marcus Mason (The Madison Group)
Andy Rosenberg (Ogilvy Government Relations)
Bobby Sepucha (Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal)
Tom Walls (McGuireWoods)
Michael Williams (Credit Suisse)

Listed among the top 50 contributors to Barack Obama 2003-2004 are found the following political action committees:[41]

Allstate Insurance PAC
Credit Union PAC
Community Banc PAC
Zack PAC
AIA IL PAC (American Insurance Assn)
IL Road Builders PAC
MCI Midwest Employees PAC
Peoples Energy PAC
Spirit PAC
IL Manufactured Housing Assn PAC
IL Mortgage Bankers PAC
ACPAC (Automobile Club PAC)

Listed among the top 50 contributors to Barack Obama 2001-2002 are found the following political action committees:[42]

Manufacturers PAC
Credit Union PAC
IL Merchants PAC
IL Health Care Assn PAC
Community BancPAC
IL Realtors Assn RPAC
Horsepower PAC
Exelon IL PAC/Com Ed
IL Birth to Five PAC
IL Home Builders PAC
IL Insurance PAC  

Listen, I'm against unilateral disarmament.  I would love to see strong and effective campaign finance reform, but until it happens I want to see my candidate taking all the money s/he can get from wherever it's legal to get it from, just like the Republicans will do.

So I've got no problem in the world with Obama taking money from these sources.  But the sanctimonious holier-than-thou bullshit?  That I can do without.

by Trickster 2008-03-28 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton Camp Circulates Misleading Memo About

Your argument against the use of lists showing the employers of donors would be much more substantive if the Obama camp had not previously used this same tactic to show that Hillary had taken money from the 'insurance industry' and 'healthcare interests'.

As it is, you are simply showing the frailty of an argument and a tactic that has already been part of the throwing of the pots and pans by Obama at Clinton.

If it was good enough for 'fire where there's smoke' rantings by your candidate when it suited him, then it's good enough to use against him, unless he is a complete hypocrite.

by emsprater 2008-03-28 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton Camp Circulates Misleading Memo About

I don't support this kind of crap from anyone.  This article is about Hillary Clinton doing it in this instance.  If you want to rebut my premise then please provide links and an argument.  Otherwise, you just making bald assertions unsupported by fact.

by oregonkcg 2008-03-28 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton Camp Circulates Misleading Memo About

In other words .... so what?  It's Hillary doing it now, and what Obama did in the past is of no merit.

You want links?  Because I mention a very well known, well written about fact that undermines your sour premise?

Keep dreaming.

by emsprater 2008-03-28 12:19PM | 0 recs
Why does Obama say he doesn't take money from oil


Does he think Americans are ignorant?

As you yourself even point out, corporations cannot give money to Presidential candidates.

So what's up with Obama running an ad saying he doesn't take money from oil corporations?

Is he trying to screw with us, or what?

by Clarkin08 2008-03-28 01:19PM | 0 recs

if Obama committed to that, I would seriously consider him.

Hillary has discussed the issue, which I think speaks WORLDS about how much she cares about America.

When I see how Obama kowtowed to the infamous Excelon and the nuclear power industry on that safety law.. I really wonder how he can call himself a progressive..

Nuclear Leaks and Response Tested Obama in Senate itics/03exelon.html

This pattern seems to be emerging as we learn more about Obama - he's a sophisticated misleader who cloaks himself in the mantle of a progressive on some highly visible issues, but when it comes to money issues that often, strike directly at the hearts of American families security, he falls short.

by architek 2008-03-28 04:38PM | 0 recs


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