April 22, 2007

EVERYTHING NEW IS OLD AGAIN:

An asterisk to Obama's policy on donations: A presidential hopeful's refusal of lobbyist money has its limits. (Dan Morain, April 22, 2007, LA Times)

While pledging to turn down donations from lobbyists themselves, Sen. Barack 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.

Portraying himself as a new-style politician determined to reform Washington, Obama makes his policy clear in fundraising invitations, stating that he takes no donations from "federal lobbyists." His aides announced last week he was returning $43,000 to lobbyists who donated to his campaign.

But 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 lobbying operations in Washington. And the prohibition does not extend to lobbyists who ply their trade in such state capitals as Springfield, Ill.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Sacramento, though some deal with national clients and issues.

"Clearly, the distinction is not that significant," said Stephen Weissman of the Campaign Finance Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that focuses on campaign issues.


Posted by Orrin Judd at April 22, 2007 6:57 AM
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