Big Obama Fundraisers Double as Lobbyists

Many bundlers 'indistinguishable' from traditional lobbyists, finds NYT
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2011 8:01 AM CDT
Election 2012: President Obama Donors Have Lobbyist Ties
President Barack Obama greets the crowd after speaking at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama’s campaign has pledged not to take money from lobbyists—but some of its biggest fundraisers don’t look much different. Fifteen of the president’s powerful “bundlers,” who donate to the campaign and seek others’ donations, have raised some $5 million for Obama; while none are registered lobbyists, they work in the lobbying field, the New York Times reports. That doesn’t look good for a president who has attacked K Street as a source of political corruption.

One example: A Pfizer exec who has raised hundreds of thousands for Obama also heads up Pfizer’s lobbying shop; she’s made several trips to the White House to discuss policy. The Obama campaign returns checks from lobbyists registered with the Senate—but the Pfizer boss isn't registered. Neither is a lobbyist for Comcast who hosted a $10,000-a-head event for the president. “The campaign has to draw the line somewhere, but the reality is that the president is still relying on wealthy special interests and embracing those people in his campaign,” says a lobbyist at a nonpartisan ethics organization. (More President Obama stories.)

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