Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain & those Damn Lobbyists

by Richard Ivory

Mike Allen the staff writer over at Politico has an article up today on the Obama teams recent ad attacking McCain's connections to lobbyist. According to the article "Democrats say McCain has close ties to more than 170 lobbyists, at a time when he is vowing to “shake up Washington". In trying to push the case the Democrat National Committee has released a 65-page report from the Democratic National Committee, “No Reformer,” which tallies up McCain’s lobbying connections and asserts:McCain has his own herd of more than 170 lobbyists that are managing his campaign, speaking for him, directing his policy or fundraising. McCain’s crew of lobbyists, already ubiquitous as campaign surrogates, would only become more familiar if McCain were elected.”

In response to these attacks Alex Conant, the Republican National Committee's press secretary, said in response: Barack Obama has no record to run on, so he’s resorting to cynical hypocrisy and outlandish attacks. Obama’s campaign is riddled with former lobbyists and his running mate is a longtime fixture of the Washington establishment. While Obama has spent his political career giving speeches and seeking higher office, John McCain has actually led the fight to root out Washington corruption and limit the influence corporate money in politics.”

~Below are some interetsing responces from Republicans in regards this issue, providing there comments is alot better than me trying to defend McCain.

One commentator said that "Despite the attacks by Obama's campaign they failed to mention that unlike Barack Obama Sen. John McCain has a voting record of slashing lobbyist interest especially when it comes to there seeking pork through ear marks? The commentator later went on to state that Obama's VP choice Joe Biden has been in Washington DC for 40 years knows PORK and how to provide it. He knows how to keep his son employed as a lobbyist and how to trade pork for campaign moneys. Proof of this is that Obama and Biden both voted for the bridge to nowhere according to this commentator....change is simply a code word for Tax and Spend!

Enthusiastically promoting its famous change rhetoric, Barack Obama’s campaign fails to mention that his new running mate’s top advisor and fundraiser pleaded guilty to participating in a kickback scheme with a major Obama donor recently convicted of 16 felonies.This rather convoluted story illustrates that, along with foreign policy experience, Delaware Senator Joe Biden also brings solid political corruption credentials to Obama’s presidential campaign. This, in turn, contradicts the Illinois senator’s trademark change message as well as his squeaky-clean image as a Washington outsider.

A major news agency points out that the vice presidential candidate’s longtime advisor and campaign fundraiser, Chicago attorney Joseph Cari, was indicted in 2005 for helping the convicted Syrian fundraiser (Antoin Rezko) who bankrolled Obama’s political career operate a massive kickback scheme.Rezko, who has known Obama for years and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the senator, was convicted of 16 corruption-related felony charges earlier this year for plotting to squeeze millions of dollars in kickbacks out of investment firms seeking state business. Prosecutors say Rezko also provided hefty donations to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in exchange for appointments to state boards and commissions.Senator Biden’s confidante actually testified at Rezko’s federal trial after cutting a deal with prosecutors to cooperate with the government’s investigation. As part of the agreement, Cari pleaded guilty to extortion and his sentence is still pending.

For decades Cari, a prominent figure in the Democratic Party, has served as one of Biden’s top Senate advisors and fundraisers and the men consider each other good friends. Cari has also advised or raised cash for other Democratic presidential candidates, including Jimmy Carter in 1980 and John Kerry in 2004.His deep involvement with Rezko is scandalous for the Democratic Party in general and especially damaging for the new vice presidential candidate. No wonder the Obama camp omitted the crucial information when touting Biden as a foreign policy expert whose heart and values are firmly rooted in the middle class.

Another commentor went as far as to say Michelle Obama is herself a former lobbyist for The University of Chicago where she worked. As a powerful member at the hospital the commentor says she was able to net $1 million earmark for the University of Chicago Hospital in 2006 — employees of the university were the number one contributor to Obama for the 2006 election cycle recent news reports show employees of the university donated $156,054 to him during that time period.

He goes on to say "We shouldn't be entirely shocked by this; obviously, when your co-worker's husband is running for the U.S. Senate, you're probably a little more inclined to give him a donation". But as people have noted elsewhere — we're expected to believe that everyone involved in the decision to increase Michelle Obama's salary at the hospital by $195,052 between 2004 and 2005 did not take her husband's recent election to the Senate into account, and that the prospect of a Senator helping secure greater financial aid from the federal government never crossed their mind. Number ten on that list of largest Obama donors, by the way, is Soros Fund Management... a privately held corporation chaired by George Soros.

The Democrats are always talking about the lobbyists and special interests and yet, they have the biggest lobbyists and special interest groups working with them: THE UNIONS. So, I find it very hyprocritical to be so high and mighty criticizing the Republicans.

These 38 fundraisers for Barack Obama's presidential campaign work for law firms that have lobbying operations in Wahington, D.C. The dollar figure reflects the minimum amount each has pledged to raise for the campaign.

Harris, Wiltshire and Grannis.....$200.000, Akerman Senterfitt....$200,000,....Skadden, Arps $200,000,...Sidley Austin,...$200,000,...Alston & Bird,....$200,000,...Jenner & Block,...$200,00,...Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, Preston Gates Ellis,$200,000,...Skadden Arps (Christina Tchen)$200,000,...Morrison & Foerster $200,000,...Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen $100,000,...Winston & Strawn $$100,000,...DLA Piper $100,000,...Williams & Connolly $100,000,...Zuckerman Spaeder $100,000,...Foley & Lardner $100,000,...Mayer Brown $100,000, ....Hogan & Hartson $50,000,...Arnold & Porter $50,000,...Sidley Austin (Tom Cole) $50,000,...Reed Smith $50,000,...Williams & Connolly (Howard W. Gutman) $50,000,...Proskauer Rose $50,000,...Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal $50.000,...Covington & Burling $50,000,... Vinson & Elkins $50,000,...WilmerHale $50,000,...Akin Gump $50,000,...Kirkland & Ellis $50,000,...Bingham McCutchen $50,000,...Proskauer Rose (Charles B. Ortner) $50,000,...Foley & Lardner (Susan Pravda) $50,000,...Schulte Roth & Zabel $50,000,...Mayer Brown (John Schmidt) $50,000,...Latham & Watkins $50,000,...Sidley Austin (John Schmidt) $50,000 Latham & Watkins $50,000,...Sidley Austin (Kathryn Thomson)$50,000,...Foley Hoag $50,000,...Akin Gump (Steven M. Zager ) $50,000,...Arnold & Porter (did not pledge, however, made the list)

~The names on the list are names that one will find in the list of lobbyist supporting his campaign for president. So, for Sen. Barack Obama, to state he has not received a dime from Lobbyist, is like asking whether he can walk on water.

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