Dale Eisman Senior Writer/Editor Ph: 202.736.5788 firstname.lastname@example.org
on October 28, 2011
President Obama's reliance on Washington's lobbying community and the wealthy interests behind it as he raises money for his re-election has let down millions of Americans who accepted his word that he would clean up our politics, Common Cause said today.
"The President refuses to hire registered lobbyists or accept their campaign contributions, so as not to be tainted by the companies and groups they represent," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, a non-partisan government watchdog group. "But his campaign is raking in millions of dollars from consultants and law firms working directly with those lobbyists to aid the same companies and groups. It doesn't square."
Edgar said a report in Friday's New York Times, detailing the Obama campaign's acceptance of more than $5 million raised by 15 "bundlers" working for Washington-based lobbying firms fits an unfortunate pattern.
"The President promised he'd fix the broken public financing system for our Presidential campaigns, but he has not done so. He called for tougher campaign finance disclosure laws after Citizens United, but he has yet to sign an executive order that would compel disclosure of political spending by government contractors," Edgar said.
"Now we learn that despite his well-publicized antipathy for lobbyists, or at least registered lobbyists, the President's campaign is only too willing to join his Republican adversaries in taking money from special interests.
"What the President should be doing-- indeed should have done long ago -- is pushing for a comprehensive political reform program, one that makes all political spending transparent, stops corporate, trade group and other special interest efforts to buy our elections, and puts small gifts from individual donors at the center of our campaign finance system."
Edgar acknowledged that achieving such reforms would be challenging, likely requiring a Constitutional amendment to control corporate political spending, but said Obama could at least begin to fix the nation's political dysfunction by placing them at the center of his agenda.
"The President gained his office on a tide of hope. Sadly, he appears today to have been swept into the sea of special interest money," Edgar said.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics