Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Obama & Special Interests

There is a Barack ad here in Pennsylvania that is running on TV every 6.3 seconds...well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it feels that way. The entire ad touts Obama's refusal to accept money from special interest groups and him proclaiming special interest will have no hand in his presidency because he won't owe them anything. I knew I had read that NOW/NARAL was a contributor to his Senate campaign (definitely a 'special interest'), so I thought I'd check the facts on that commercial... (The ad linked is not the exact ad, but similar).

"...Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has pledged to create a new brand of politics in the Democratic presidential primary by rejecting contributions from lobbyists and political action committees (PAC), but his fundraising records show that he relies on donors with special interests.

Three of Obama’s top fundraisers, who each have raised more than $50,000 for his campaign since January, were registered as lobbyists last year, according to reports filed with the Senate Office of Public Records.

While several of Obama’s fundraisers have recent experience working as lobbyists, at least 10 other big fundraisers hold senior positions in companies that have lobbyists under contract or employed lobbyists in the last few years, according to public records.

David Heller and Bruce Heyman are big Obama fundraisers and managing directors at Goldman Sachs. Last year, Goldman Sachs spent $3.3 million on lobbying. The company hired firms such as DLA Piper, Rich Feuer Group, and the Duberstein Group to influence lawmakers.

James Dinan, the founder and CEO of York Capital Management, is another Obama bundler. His company hired Dutko Worldwide to lobby on asbestos issues in 2005 and 2006.

Other Obama fundraisers work for companies that have hired lobbyists to work on issues of the jurisdiction of Senate committees on which Obama sits..." (source)

I couldn't find anything regarding Obama + lobbyist on FactCheck.org, but his page on Follow the Money looks to contradict this ad also...carps union, teachers union, lawyers' lobby, etc.

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