Despite Obama, New Democrat Fundraising Just Like the Old -By Warner Todd Huston


By: Warner Todd Huston

Now that Barack Obama is the presumptive Democrat Party nominee he has made his first move to try to put his imprint on his party by making a show of eschewing campaign donations from federal lobbyists. As the new head of the party, Obama might expect to have sway over the way the party does business. If Obama imagined that he would have such power, however, he seems to have been mistaken.

Obama announced his fundraising policy idea in Virginia on the 6th saying, “Today as the Democratic nominee for president, I am announcing that going forward, the Democratic National Committee will uphold the same standard — we will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists.”

That same day, the Politico put a call into the DCCC if they were going to live up to Obam’s idealistic plan. Apparently they aren’t.

So much for “change” in Washington.

But, there is an underlying theme where it concerns his fundraising that the Obama campaign is flogging that is also untrue. The claim seems to be that Obama does not take money from big donors and that his entire campaign is floated by small donors. After Obama’s new policy was announced, campaign manager David Plouffe sent off a quick email to reiterate this claim.

“We need to respond quickly and show that we are ready to take on Senator McCain in the general election,” Plouffe wrote. “We are going to compete in the general election the same way we have all along_by depending on a movement of more than 1.5 million people giving only what they can afford.”

It’s a nice spin, but not really the whole truth. Obama has had plenty of big donors, PACS and lobbyists donating to his campaign. A quick check of donation reports on OpenSecrets.org that he has had some very large donations from bundlers who are directly associated with big businesses, universities, investment firms.

Goldman Sachs $571,330
University of California $437,236
UBS AG $364,806
JPMorgan Chase & Co $362,207
Citigroup Inc $358,054
National Amusements Inc $320,750
Lehman Brothers $318,647
Google Inc $309,514
Harvard University $309,025
Sidley Austin LLP $294,245
Skadden, Arps et al $270,013
Time Warner $262,677
Morgan Stanley $259,876
Jones Day $250,725
Exelon Corp $236,211
University of Chicago $218,857
Wilmerhale LLP $218,680
Latham & Watkins $218,615
Microsoft Corp $209,242
Stanford University $195,262

Again, so much for “change.”

Obama may find that it is harder to actually make change than to merely say it. So far, when it comes to change, his two cents seems to be worth just that much.

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