How many times has Obama and hypocrisy been mentioned in the same breath on this blog? I can tell you its been hundreds, and now we get to utter the words together once again:
Barack Obama campaigned on a pledge to change Washington, vowing to upend the K Street lobbying culture he encountered when he joined the U.S. Senate.
But more than a dozen members of President-elect Obama’s fast-growing transition team have worked as federally registered lobbyists within the past four years. They include former lobbyists for the nation’s trial lawyers association, mortgage giant Fannie Mae, drug companies such as Amgen, high-tech firms such as Microsoft, labor unions and the liberal advocacy group Center for American Progress.
Mark Gitenstein, one of the 12 transition board members who will play a significant role in shaping the Obama administration, worked on million-dollar lobbying contracts with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and promoted legislation for giant defense contractors Boeing and General Dynamics. Until this fall, he was registered to petition Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of AT&T, Merrill Lynch, KPMG, Ernst & Young and others.
Gitenstein has blue-chip credentials for the volunteer role on the Obama team. He was chief Democratic counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee during confirmation hearings for controversial Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork; was a close adviser to Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s White House bid; and served as counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Oh the hypocrisy…remember these words?
“So one of the things that we’ve got to do is not just change the health-care system, but we’ve also got to change our political system. And that’s why I don’t take PAC money. I don’t take money from federal registered lobbyists, because I want to answer to you when I’m in the White House. I don’t want to answer to all these fat-cat lobbyists!”
He wants to answer to the American people instead of lobbyists you see….but then brings in major lobbyists to help shape his administration. Hell, the hypocrisy was evident in that statement above when he said he doesn’t take PAC money. Oh, he didn’t take it directly from lobbyists…instead he took it from their spouses:
The campaign has no problem accepting money from the spouses of Washington lobbyists. A database search conducted for this column by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign-finance issues, found that more than 20 spouses of prominent Washington lobbyists have donated to the Obama campaign, including the wives of Dan Glickman, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America; Norman Brownstein, a prominent Denver-based lawyer who has lobbied for Oracle, Toshiba, and Comcast; and Stuart Pape of Patton Boggs, Washington’s foremost lobbying firm, who has lobbied for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, and the Smokeless Tobacco Council.
The campaign accepts money from lobbyists registered in state capitals. It accepts money from partners at law firms that engage in lobbying. It accepts money from the C.E.O.’s, chairs, and officers of corporations, but not their lobbyists. Obama has received more than $627,000 in contributions from employees of Goldman Sachs, including, for example, $2,300 (the maximum contribution allowed) from the likes of managing director George Butcher. But Michael Berman, a registered lobbyist (and a former adviser to Walter Mondale), cannot give money to Obama because his firm, the Duberstein Group, has lobbied on behalf of Goldman Sachs on energy and tax issues. Aren’t such policies a little inconsistent with the ban? “Maybe,” said the senior Obama official. “But it’s important symbolism.”
His hypocrisy knows no bounds.
Get ready folks. Hundreds of his promises will be broken in the months ahead.