Barack Obama likes to use the word ‘disingenuous,’ perhaps because he wrote the book on it. The definition of disingenuous is; lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; insincere: His excuse was rather disingenuous. Much of Barack Obama’s campaign thus far fits well within this definition, but more disingenuous than any other claim made by Obama is his position on not taking money from federal lobbyists.
He repeats this stance at every opportunity, and infers that Hillary Clinton is guilty of taking massive amounts of money from special interests and will therefore be beholden to them when she is in office.
In one respect he is telling the truth; he has not taken money from PAC funds or registered federal lobbyists since launching his campaign. Of course he took plenty during his senate campaign and the lead up to his presidential campaign, but he doesn’t deny that. What he leaves out however, is that he has still raised nearly as much money, and often more, than Hillary Clinton from each and every special interest group currently tracked.
I’ve oft heard quoted the words of Michael Moore in his excellent film, Sicko, stating that Hillary Clinton raised more money from the healthcare industry than any other politician, Republican or Democrat. This is stated as a reason to not trust Hillary in handling our transition as a nation to universal health care, and instead support Obama, who, after all does not accept money from federal lobbyists.
A reporter posed that exact position to Mr. Moore recently and his responded, with laughter, “Guess who’s number two?” Yep, Mr. Obama. There’s more though. As Senator Edwards pointed out in the last two debates, Barack has now surpassed Hillary Clinton, and taken more money from the healthcare industry than any other politician, Republican or Democrat.
But how can he do this when he doesn’t take money from registered federal lobbyists? The answer is many, many ways. A lobbyist can have a Barack Obama fundraiser at his or her house, requiring every guest to contribute a thousand or two thousand dollars to Barack in order to attend. It’s called bundling, and it’s how most of the money is raised in these campaigns, not directly from the checkbook of a lobbyist. A lobbyist is limited in the amount they can give any one candidate just like everyone else. The CEO of a corporation, the management of a corporation, major investors in a business can all give money to Obama freely.
Obama tries to imply, when questioned by Edwards for his disingenuousness, that it’s the “little people,” the secretaries and the janitors at these companies that have given him 25 dollars or 50 dollars because they are inspired by his “message of change.” Unfortunately, it just isn’t true. If every secretary and janitor working in the healthcare corporations were to give 25 dollars it wouldn’t add up to the deluge of funds that these industries have poured into Obama’s coffers. In fact, 46% of his campaign contributions as of October 29th, 2007 were contributions of 2,300 dollars or more by mega-rich donors, and he’s raised much, much more since then.
Hillary has stated, as has Barack, that she is for public financing of campaigns, but until that happens, the reality is simply that she is going to take the money, and you’re free to judge her record and see if it influences her votes. Barack tries to deflect the issue by not taking money from a small number of individuals who are registered with the federal government.
One of these positions doesn’t look like the other, yet the result is the same.
“lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; insincere”