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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Explain this - Sen. Obama!

In a new ad running in Pennsylvania, Sen. Obama claims that he does not "take money from oil companies or lobbyists."  Throughout his campaign, he has tried to differentiate himself from Sen. Clinton, because she does take money from PACs and lobbyists, stating that he doesn't take money from those sources because he doesn't want "any strings attached." 

Listen to the ad for yourself.

You heard it plain as day!  I hope you didn't take him at his word though.  According to the Center for Responsive politics Sen. Obama has, as of February 29th, taken in over $213,ooo from oil and gas companies, including but not limited to Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron!   To be fair, Sen. Clinton has taken in over $306,000 from these same donors over the same period.

Hillary Clinton Press Release

MSNBC - First Read

The important distinction here is Sen. Clinton has admitted that she accepts money from many groups, and asserts, quite legitimately, that accepting these funds does not mean that she would act in any way other than in the public interest.

Sen. Obama, on the other hand, had consistently and repeatedly stated that he does not accept PAC money or money from federally registered lobbyists, but as you can see, this is not true.  

In 2005, Sen. Clinton opposed Dick Cheney's energy bill.

In 2005 , Sen. Obama supported the bill, despite having previously criticized Cheney's support for the oil industry and the bill and having decried the secret meetings that resulted in "energy laws that were good for Exxon-Mobil." 

So, when all is said and done, who do you support?  


From the Accountable Strategies Blog, there is an interesting article about the role of bundling with regard to evading campaign spending reform (Reining in the Campaign Bundlers).

The article advises that the loopholes in the campaign reform efforts

has led to the emergence of “bundlers,” who increasingly operate on behalf of businesses and wealthy special interest groups. While individuals are legally limited to spending $2,300 on a particular candidate, bundlers can round up contributions from numerous individuals from a single business or industry.

Currently, bundlers have to disclose their roles only if they personally hand over these checks to the campaigns, according to Public Citizen. The campaigns get around this rule by employing a tracking system that enables the bundlers to cover their tracks. Campaigns give bundlers a tracking number, which the bundler asks the contributors to write on their checks. This allows the campaigns to know who the bundler is, but keeps the public in the dark as to the bundler’s identity.

Interestingly, and as per the information available today at WhiteHouseForSale.org, Sen. Obama has raised $192,757, 721 with the assistance of 361 bundlers and 14 lobbyist bundlers, and Sen. Clinton has raised $152,751,856 with the assistance of 322 bundlers and 22 lobbyist bundlers.

The obvious conclusion to me is that Sen. Obama cannot legitimately use this as a point of distinction from Sen. Clinton.

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