Barack Obama, who poses as an enemy of cynicism, is outdoing even Hillary in his cynical use of lobbyists, as detailed in this article in The Hill, reported by Alexander Bolton.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is benefiting from the support of well-connected Washington lobbyists even though he has prohibited his campaign from accepting contributions from them and political action committees (PACs).
While Obama has decried the influence of special interests in Washington, the reality is that many of the most talented and experienced political operatives in his party are lobbyists, and he needs their help.
Mike Williams, the director of government relations at Credit Suisse Securities, said of the network of lobbyists supporting Obama: “I would imagine that it’s as large as the Clinton list,” in reference to rival presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who is an entrenched favorite of the Washington Democratic establishment.
He said that while lobbyists cannot give money to Obama, they can give “policy” and “campaign support.” Indeed, K Street denizens have rare policy and national campaign expertise.
In other words, Obama wants to reap financial and other rewards from association with big lobbyists, but he doesn’t want anyone to know that he is less than pure on this issue.
Obama’s spokesman Bill Burton said the senator knows that it is impossible to completely escape the influence of Washington’s establishment, but that rejecting lobbyists’ money is an important gesture.
“Senator Obama said when he set out this policy that it doesn’t solve the problem of money in politics but it is a sign and symbolic step in the right direction,” said Burton. “It’s not going to stop the sway that money has over policies or that special interests have over legislation, but it indicates the type of administration Obama would have if elected.”
Gestures and symbolic steps, but somehow or other the money will get to him.
One of the lobbyists, who supports Clinton, said that Shomik Dutta, a fundraiser for Obama’s campaign, called to ask if the lobbyist’s wife would be interested in making a political contribution.
“I was quite taken aback,” he said. “He was very direct in saying that you’re a lobbyist and we don’t want contributions from lobbyists. But your wife can contribute and we like your network.”