presidential race

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What Exactly is "Lobbyist Money"

CQPolitics digs in to the campaign promises of John Edwards and Barack Obama to not accept direct contributions from federal lobbyists in their respective bids for the White House. Emily Cadei spoke with Public Campaign's Nick Nyhart for the article, and he talked about why this promise, though a good start, does not fully address the way lobbyist cash can influence elections.

Some excerpts from the piece:


New White House for Sale

Public Citizen has launched the 2008 version of their very useful White House for Sale database tracking the big donation bundlers for each presidential candidate, and who among them are lobbyists. With bundlers playing a bigger role than ever before in this race, anticipated to cost at least $1 billion, this is a good tool to bookmark for connecting the dots between big donors, candidates, and policy priorities.

Ask for More

Delaware's News Journal isn't looking forward to the first $1 billion dollar presidential race and a line of candidates with their hands out: "You can imagine the promises they are making and the debts they will owe." Yes, indeed. But while the paper is right to call for disclosure of the high-powered bundlers behind the mega-fundraising numbers they're wrong to say that it's the best we can hope for.

Gaps Upon Gaps

The Democratic presidential field has been at each other's throats of late over how much they're taking in campaign contributions from private equity fund and hedge fund managers (particularly as the subprime storm rages on).

The Measure of the Man

Republican presidential candidate John McCain is hinting at the possibility of opting in to the presidential public financing program for the primary election, triggering debate over whether opting in (and perhaps standing at a significant financial disadvantage compared to some rivals) proves the continued relevance of the public financing program, or is a signal of a dying campaign.

In It For the Long Haul

If you've been active in the movement to change how our elections are financed for awhile you've no doubt heard the name Fred Wertheimer. Wertheimer, who helped craft the post-Watergate reforms and from his time at the helm of Common Cause to his recent efforts as founder of Democracy 21 has remained keenly focused on campaign finance issues, is profiled in today's Washington Post by Jeffrey Birnbaum.

Make It Happen

Cabell Brand is a Virginia businessman and a longtime anti-poverty activist and he's written a strong editorial in the Roanoke Times in support of full public financing of campaigns at the federal level as outlined in the Fair Elections Now Act. He argues that every issue we grapple with has a money in politics angle, and only when we address that angle can we make real policy change.

How I Raised and Spent My Summer Vacation

How alarming it would be to arrrive at your home in the Hamptons after the drive from Manhattan only to find a presidential candidate pop up from behind a well-groomed hedge and ask for a campaign check. Actually, that'd be hilarious. Less hilarious for many vacationers, however, are the fundraisers for candidates that have wiggled onto the summer social schedule as candidates and their chief supporters struggle to find every last dollar.

Ad Hits Lobbyist Influence

Barack Obama has just rolled out an ad called "Take It Back" wherein he slams lobbyist influence in Washington and vows change if elected president. The Washington Post profiled the ad this morning, you can watch it here. What do you think? It's good to see the issue of influence addressed by candidates, though I hope the focus goes to the influence of campaign contributions etc. rather than a simplified lobbyists=bad argument.

In-Corporated Conventions

For those corporations whose executives and PACs view campaign contributions as just the tip of the iceberg, there's always shelling out for a party convention, as this USA Today article notes looking ahead to the 2008 nominating conventions in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Corporations says it's just a matter of "civic pride" but it looks suspiciously like access-buying to many.