DNC bans lobbyist money

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  • #1
turbo
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Obama has instructed the DNC not to accept any more money from lobbyists or PACs, to bring the organization into line with his campaign's position. That's refreshing.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080605/ap_on_el_pr/democrats_money;_ylt=AkiCfPdPQf8LKK5nulw2obms0NUE [Broken]
 
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  • #2
mgb_phys
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Obama has instructed the DNC not to accept any more money from lobbyists or PACs, to bring the organization into line with his campaign's position. That's refreshing.
Does that actualy change anything?
My understanding is that lobbyists 'persuade' rather than just say 'here is a suitcase of used notes - these are our demands'

In the UK the boss of F1 donated £M to the labour party, when this came out over a row about F1 being exempt from tobacco advertising they repaid the money but were persuaded that a ban on advertising would harm jobs and so F1 got it's exemption.

ps. I did enjoy the story about Obama's grass roots campaign caused problems for the tax people because the number of donors was more than the number of rows in Excel, they were setup fora few*$M donations rather than a few M * $ donantions!
 
  • #3
slugcountry
Yes to answer your question this is a HUGE deal, as corporations and their lobbyists currently run the government.
 
  • #4
mgb_phys
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Yes to answer your question this is a HUGE deal, as corporations and their lobbyists currently run the government.
Yes but my point is that they will continue to run the country by offering directorships or consulting jobs to politicians and officials when they leave office and threatening them about ho job losses in their region ill be blamed on them.
There is no need for them to offer money to a party.
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking
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Even Lou Dobbs, who has berated Obama on many issues and who is the hardest nose of all when it comes to corruption in government, was all smiles today. He made a rare admission that he was impressed.
 
  • #6
russ_watters
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I am also unclear on what practical effect this will have. Can anyone explain what, exactly, the effect will be? It was my understanding that PACs, for example, don't give money to parties/candidates, they operate independently, campaigning for "issues" [wink, wink]. Lobby groups work roughly the same way.

Ok, here's the wik on soft money. Pacs do give money to candidates/parties, but the amount is so small as to be inconsequential - a few thousand dollars. Their real influence is via the many tens of millions they will pump into advertisements of nonpartisan "issues" [wink, wink]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_money

Obama, of course, knows that like Kerry in 2004, he will get the lions share of the PAC money anyway (via TV ads and bilboards by MoveOn and others). Of course, there is always the risk of a silver bullet on the other side like the SBV that could really hurt him.

Btw, who sponsored the campaign finance law that put this regulation in place that Obama is pretending to give a crap about? I can't seem to put my finger on his name...
 
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  • #7
Gokul43201
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Btw, who sponsored the campaign finance law that put this regulation in place that Obama is pretending to give a crap about? I can't seem to put my finger on his name...
Perhaps you are thinking of Old McCain, arch nemesis of Neo-McCain?
 
  • #8
Astronuc
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Btw, who sponsored the campaign finance law that put this regulation in place that Obama is pretending to give a crap about? I can't seem to put my finger on his name...
So what's-his-name knows where the loopholes are. One has to wonder why his campaign got into legal trouble regarding public financing then.
 
  • #9
russ_watters
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So what's-his-name knows where the loopholes are. One has to wonder why his campaign got into legal trouble regarding public financing then.
Yeah, I really don't know what he's thinking sometimes. He's done a lot of stupid things when it comes to where he gets his money: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/04/barackobama.uselections20082

In this particular case, however, he knows exactly what he's doing:
-He knows that the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law means that lobbyists and pacs contribute a pittance to his campaign, so he loses virtually nothing by "banning" that money.
-He knows that the real money in PACs and lobbyists is the money they spend directly and he knows that as a democrat, he gets the vast majority of that help.
-And most importantly, he knows it sounds great to say on TV!
 
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  • #10
russ_watters
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Perhaps you are thinking of Old McCain, arch nemesis of Neo-McCain?
Tell me this: during a primary election, when it is important to kowtow to the party line, is it reasonable to believe the Old McCain or the Neo-McCain is the Real McCain?

Along the same lines, is it reasonable to believe the Old Obama or the New Obama is the Real Obama? Obama had a truly miraculous epiphany regarding the message being pounded into him by his church for the past 20 years -- two months ago. Do you really think that that's a real epiphany or is Obama just hiding the Real Obama because it doesn't play well in the polls?
 
  • #11
Gokul43201
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Tell me this: during a primary election, when it is important to kowtow to the party line, is it reasonable to believe the Old McCain or the Neo-McCain is the Real McCain?
It's very hard to believe anything anymore from any McCain. This was the big problem you had with Clinton, Russ - that, to paraphrase what you've expressed about him, he would say whatever was politically expedient at the time, irrespective of his principles.

PS: Incidentally Russ, Neo-McCain's primary season seems to have been running at least for 4 or 5 years now.

Along the same lines, is it reasonable to believe the Old Obama or the New Obama is the Real Obama? Obama had a truly miraculous epiphany regarding the message being pounded into him by his church for the past 20 years -- two months ago.
This is a distortion. Of course Obama's decision to distance himself from his church was likely based on political reasons as much as anything else, but that is hardly the same thing as doing a 180 turn on virtually every issue you have a principled stand on.
 
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  • #12
Moonbear
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Yes to answer your question this is a HUGE deal, as corporations and their lobbyists currently run the government.
But, what I'm wondering is will his "instructions" have any actual effect on changing where the money comes from? It sounds good in a quote in a news story, but has no binding effect. And, if the DNC just ignores him and continues to accept donations from those groups, is he really going to refuse to accept funding from them? And, if he does, is he really the Democratic candidate still if he's independently funding his campaign? Wouldn't that be akin to turning down their nomination if he refuses their money? In other words, as long as he's the Democratic nominee, funded by the DNC, is this statement anything more than bark with no bite?
 
  • #13
Gokul43201
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But, what I'm wondering is will his "instructions" have any actual effect on changing where the money comes from? It sounds good in a quote in a news story, but has no binding effect. And, if the DNC just ignores him and continues to accept donations from those groups, is he really going to refuse to accept funding from them? And, if he does, is he really the Democratic candidate still if he's independently funding his campaign? Wouldn't that be akin to turning down their nomination if he refuses their money? In other words, as long as he's the Democratic nominee, funded by the DNC, is this statement anything more than bark with no bite?
It's both bark and bite (the DNC has agreed). But, as Russ pointed out, lobbyist/PAC money typically accounts for about 1% of total funds. Obama believes this 1% is worth forsaking to make at least a symbolic gesture against lobbyist influence. McCain and the RNC probably think it isn't worth it.
 
  • #14
Astronuc
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Candidates Forgo Soft Money, but Conventions Rake It In
By LESLIE WAYNE, NYTimes
One of Senator Barack Obama’s first acts after claiming the Democratic nomination was declaring he would not take special-interest money for his presidential bid, even going so far as to bar lobbyists from donating to the Democratic National Committee.

But there is one important area where special-interest money is flowing into the Democratic campaign effort — the millions of dollars being raised from corporations to finance the party’s convention in Denver.

Elected Democratic officials have been calling on corporations — meeting with Wall Street executives and flying to San Diego, Philadelphia and Las Vegas — to raise the $40 million the party has budgeted for the convention, in August. In return, these Democratic officials are promising corporate donors “sponsor benefits packages” that include private sessions with federal officeholders and other influential party leaders.

This search for cash comes as national party committees, like the D.N.C., are barred from soliciting or spending soft money, the unrestricted donations to political parties. But there is one major exception to these limits: the unlimited contributions from corporations and unions for the party’s convention. Even more, donations for the conventions, unlike other campaign contributions, are fully tax-deductible to corporations as a business expense.

To many critics, this is the last soft-money loophole in campaign finance, one that neither Mr. Obama, nor his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, who was a sponsor of the legislation banning soft money, has spoken out against. And the convention fund-raising could test the commitment these two candidates have to erasing the influence of big money in politics.
It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. :rolleyes:

It's like a shell game. I think there needs to be a non-partisan or bi-partisan collection agency so that the candidates never know who gave what.

When is soliciting campaign donations not the same thing as selling influence. I would expect big donors definitely want the politicians to whom they give money to 'know' who is giving how much, and what they expect in return.

How is any of this 'freedom of speech'?
 
  • #15
Moonbear
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Candidates Forgo Soft Money, but Conventions Rake It In
By LESLIE WAYNE, NYTimes
It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. :rolleyes:

It's like a shell game. I think there needs to be a non-partisan or bi-partisan collection agency so that the candidates never know who gave what.

When is soliciting campaign donations not the same thing as selling influence. I would expect big donors definitely want the politicians to whom they give money to 'know' who is giving how much, and what they expect in return.

How is any of this 'freedom of speech'?
Thanks, that really gets at my impressions of what Obama was saying. Prohibiting lobbyists and PACs from donating doesn't stop the corporations they represent from making donations. It's really just an empty promise that doesn't change much of anything, but looks good in a quote in the news. I'll give Obama this, he's very clever with his words.
 
  • #16
Ivan Seeking
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I don't see where financing for conventions is like financing a campaign. How is this signficant? I would encourage the DNC to go all the way, but it is still a siginficant step in the right direction.
 
  • #17
Ivan Seeking
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It's both bark and bite (the DNC has agreed). But, as Russ pointed out, lobbyist/PAC money typically accounts for about 1% of total funds. Obama believes this 1% is worth forsaking to make at least a symbolic gesture against lobbyist influence. McCain and the RNC probably think it isn't worth it.
So all of this stink about PAC money that we've been hearing for years only involves 1% of the contributions?
 
  • #18
Gokul43201
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So all of this stink about PAC money that we've been hearing for years only involves 1% of the contributions?
In terms of direct contributions to the campaign, the numbers are typically no more than 2%.

This season, the total money from PACs/lobbyists for the RNC may be on the order of a few million dollars or so. The DNC will lose a similar amount. They have just returned $100,000 which was in the pipelines when Obama made this policy decision.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/06/07/obama-edict-requires-dnc-to-return-100000/ [Broken]

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Democratic National Committee is now operating under Barack Obama's fundraising rules.

The DNC today returned about $100,000 in money from lobbyists and political action committees.

A party official says the donations were already "in the pipeline" when Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, instituted the standards for the committee.
 
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  • #19
russ_watters
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So all of this stink about PAC money that we've been hearing for years only involves 1% of the contributions?
No. PAC's can only directly contribute a paltry sum of money (the wik link has the disbursement). But they can spend whatever they want on their own campaigns on issues that are important to them. In the last Presidential election, that was tens of millions of dollars of completely unregulated money.

There were times that it was a problem, like with the many tasteless MoveOn.org ads and bilboards, but all Kerry could do was ask them to discontinue the ads that looked bad. He had no actual control.

And the irony of the situation was that though Kerry got the lions' share of the PAC money spent on his behalf, the one PAC that had the biggest impact was the relatively small SwiftBoatVets.

More on PACs and the money spent in 2004:
Federal Multi-candidate PACs are limited in the amount of money they can contribute to other organizations:

at most $5,000 per candidate per election. Elections such as primaries, general elections and special elections are counted separately.
at most $15,000 per political party per year.
at most $5,000 per PAC per year.

Under federal law, PACs are not limited in their ability to spend money independently of a candidate campaign. [emphasis added]

In the 2004 elections, the top 10 PACs by money spent by themselves, their affiliates and subsidiaries were as follows:

EMILY's List $22,767,521
Service Employees International Union $12,899,352
American Federation of Teachers $12,789,296
American Medical Association $11,901,542
National Rifle Association $11,173,358
Teamsters Union $11,128,729
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $10,819,724
National Education Association $10,521,538
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees $9,882,022
Laborers' International Union of North America $9,523,837
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_action_committee

So the DNC gave back a hundred thousand in PAC money. Good for them - they know they can expect to reap the benefit of roughly a hundred million in PAC spending.
 
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