Obama’s Record on Campaign Finance Reform

Posted on August 21, 2008. Filed under: B. Hussein Obama's real record as a "reformer" |

A June 20th article in the Wall Street Journal shows Obama’s lack of commitment to campaign finance reform. Obama has said in the past that campaigns should be completely publically financed. Obama has long supported campaign finance reforms to set a spending limit in an effort to level the playing field between candidates. This year, presidential candidates can accept federal matching public funds of $85 million in order to set a spending cap in the election. When it became clear that Obama was the Democratic nominee he said that he would take the public funds and challenged McCain to agree to accept public funding also. This was a challenge McCain accepted and by which was pledged to abide.

Obama’s challenge came before his campaign started setting new records for fundraising. Therefore in June, Obama pulled out of his own challenge of abiding by public financing rules. His excuse, which either shows his ability to fabricate situations or a complete ignorance of his own support, was that the public campaign finance system is broken and that he needed to raise all of the money he could to combat the dirty Republican 527 groups that were sure to run numerous slander ads against Obama. What Obama did not mention was the fact that liberal 527’s such as MoveOn.org had already spent $15.3 million in support of Obama while conservative 527’s had spent a meager $1.1 million, according to federal campaign finance records. Obama also explained in a video email he sent to his supporters regarding the decision that the current public financing system is broken.

Taking a look at Obama’s claim that the current system is broken begs for a few explanations from the Illinois Senator. The Wall Street Journal article discusses Obama’s criticism of his main primary rival, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, because Hillary rejected the public campaign funds. Obama had made the same challenge to Hillary as he made to McCain. Hillary, in typical Clinton fashion, would never agree to pubic campaign financing or anything that would limit money to be collected. As many conservative critics, and probably Hillary, are asking Obama, when exactly did the system break? The system had to be working perfectly during the period when he challenged Hillary. Nothing must have been broken right up until he pulled out of the agreement with McCain. Could it be that nothing broke at all? Could it be that Obama found out he could out-raise his Republican opponent so he decided to opt out of public funding for his own benefit? There is nothing criminal about Obama opting out of public funds. However, it does require questions of how this decision makes him a new type of politician? The 527 excuse is very weak when even just looking at the money spent by George Soros’ MoveOn.org.

Obama also claims he will not play the game of accepting money from lobbyists or political action committees (PAC’s). A quick look at his current and past fundraisers and donors shows quite a bit of lobbyist money. In fact, Obama was reportedly seen with Soros in April at a fundraising event. Soros is a long-time key Democratic donor, along with the money he spends through his 527 organizations like MoveOn.org. There is nothing new or “reforming” from taking money donated by the anti-Israel multi-billionaire Soros. Sourcewatch.org also ran a story about the money Obama has accepted from lobbyists and PAC’s. Sourcewatch.org quotes an article by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times from February 9, 2007 where she states that Obama “used campaign donations generated by PACs and lobbyists to bankroll the birth of his White House bid — though he’s banning that money for his presidential 2008 race.” That is a far cry from denouncing taking lobbyist and PAC money. Apparently Obama got the money he wanted from these organizations only to denounce similar contributions for any of his opponents.

A problem to Obama’s claims is that Obama is not done accepting money from these groups. He still takes money from such groups just not directly in most cases. He now prefers to take money from people connected to PAC’s and lobbyists. While, no he isn’t technically taking money from these groups, the money related to the groups continues to pour in. For example, a visit to the Planned Parenthood Action Center’s website shows that the pro-abortion political organization has a link in order to donate for the “effort of electing pro-abortion candidates.” The same website trumpets Obama’s 100% rating from pro-abortion groups. Obama and Planned Parenthood know that judicial appointments are the lifeblood of abortion. (Quite an oxymoron.) Therefore, it is easy to see Obama will definitely be one of the main recipients of the donations.

 Is this the image of a different type of politician as Obama claims to be? Or is this just another example of a politician saying one thing while doing another? Everyone outside of the Obamaniacs, who think he is Devine, can see that this is just politics as usual.  Sourcewatch.org  included the following quote from Stephen Weissman of the nonpartisan think tank Campaign Finance Institute; he said Obama “gets an asterisk that says he is trying to be different … But overall, the same wealthy interests are funding his campaign as are funding other candidates, whether or not they are lobbyists.” Obama needs to learn that just wanting to project a certain set of values also requires action to be respected and taken seriously.

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    Is this really a new type of politician? Or is the Obama machine just using politics as usual in their campaign?

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