-By Warner Todd Huston
Let’s go back to those hopey-changie days of the Obama campaign for president when he railed constantly against all those “special interests” and eeeevil lobbyists that he claimed were ruining the political process. Let us recall that once elected he claimed he’d have the “strictest ethics rules” of any president ever.
Obama has made sure that his message has been anti-special interests, anti-lobbyists, anti-business-as-usual… heck just plain anti-business, for that matter. It’s all been quite a show. Unfortunately for all the talk his actions speak to the opposite of his spin — more on that in a moment. But even if President Obama was serious about his anti-lobbyist rhetoric his party has utterly ignored him on the issue. A recent Bloomberg report reveals that lobbyists have raised $1.5 million for Democrat campaign funds during the first six months of the Obama regime quite despite Obama’s constant anti-lobbyist refrain. That is far more than the GOP has been able to raise.
As much as Obama rails against the influence held by lobbyists in Washington, candidates rely on them to help fund increasingly expensive campaigns. Reports released today show lobbyists also personally contributed to Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Bloomberg reports that just two campaign donation “bundlers” have brought in a combined $860,700 into the coffers of the Democratic Congressional Committee since Obama took office. The most successful fundraiser, former Pelosi operative Ryan Rudominer, brought in $716,300 from the electric energy lobby while the second highest fundraiser was Tony Podesta. Podesta represents BP oil, among others and brought in $144,400.
Apparently the party at which Obama sits as headman isn’t paying much mind to the boss’ entreaties. More likely, they all know it’s just hokum and hopey-changie jaw-jaw and not really meant to be taken seriously.
Me, I’d auger for the later because since Obama took office all those “strict ethics rules” have gone out the window for every other appointee and associate that Obama has put in place. Seemingly hours after he took the oath, the president’s office began to waive those “strictest” rules to allow his favorite lobbyists and lawyers to take up residence in his administration.
By Feb. 2, for instance, despite his acclaimed ban on lobbyists a dozen high profile lobbyists had already had those “strict” rules waived for them to join the administration. And by May of 2009, Obama completely lifted his so-called ban on lobbyists from joining his administration. Over a year into his term, he’s still waiving those “rules” for his pals.
By April of 2010 Obama had waived those rules so many times that dozens and dozens of lobbyists, those same lobbyists he attacked endlessly during the campaign, left their lobbying firms to come and work for the big money in Obama’s administration. And this is not to mention that lobbyists have been found to be making a killing in Obama’s Washington especially the army of lobbyists that streamed to D.C. to make cash off the healthcare issue. Even in August of 2009 Obama was still waiving his “strictest ethics rules” to allow his favorite folks into his administration.
In fact, lobbying has become such a lucrative business under Obama that Democrat staffers throughout Washington are quitting government to go work for lobbying firms and doing so with a healthy raise in pay.
Fast forward to May of 2010 and Obama waived those “strictest ethics rules” ever yet again. This time to allow Bob Bauer to replace Greg Craig as Obama’s chief White House counsel. Bauer had rules waived that are meant to prevent administration officials from working on things that would affect people they’ve worked for before. Obama gave Bauer a two-year waiver.
I love how the White House explained this waiver, too.
Eisen, who works under Bauer and wrote the waiver, stressed that it is limited, applying only to Bauer’s work at the powerhouse Democratic firm Perkins Coie as a private lawyer for the Obama family, and for the Democratic National Committee.
Right. And they’ve said the exact same thing about the dozens and dozens of other waivers they’ve made, too. It seems that Obama has waived these “rules” more than he’s observed them and in every case they had those rules waived “only” for that one person.
Obama thinks we are stupid. He thinks he can just go before the public, announce rules he has no intention of ever following, then ignore them and put in whom ever he wants in his administration. Yet he still claims he’s being strictly ethical. Look, no one is denying that a president has a right to put in the people he wants into his own administration but this lie that he is employing the “strictest ethics rules” ever is simply a lie, a smoke screen used to fool people into thinking he isn’t running his administration in a business-as-usual mode.
Will voters continue to fall for this?
Finally, there is one reason and one reason only that all these lobbyists are so free wheeling with their spending in Washington: Congress has taken on too much power unto itself. All these lobbyists and big money men would have no need to buy a President, Senator, or Congressman if there wasn’t so much government regulation for them to try and wade through. Take more government out of the picture and fewer lobbyists will have any need to fill politician’s pockets.
(Originally posted at BigGovernment.com)