Campaign Finance

Oh Hey Look, the President Is Fibbing About Getting Money From Lobbyists

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Take it away, Timothy P. Carney:

"We don't accept any money from special-interest groups or Washington lobbyists," the Obama campaign bragged in a recent email touting the $70 million raised last quarter by the campaign and the Democratic National Committee. But if you comb through the actual filings with the Federal Elections Commission, you see how misleading this claim is.

Wealthy revolving-door banker Peter Orszag epitomizes everything Obama ran against. Orszag was Obama's budget director until the 2010 elections at which point he cashed out to bailed-out megabank Citigroup. A Citi executive touted Orszag's "key … government experience" and "his expertise in economic policy." In other words, Orzag has monetized his public service and sold it to Citi, which, like all big banks, counts on favorable government policy for its profits.

Apparently feeling fairly plush after nine months at a Wall Street salary, Orszag cut a $35,800 check last month to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that divides its funds between the official Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. To sum up: Orszag gained inside knowledge and connections on the taxpayer dime, put them to work for a big bank, then used his salary from this bailed-out bank to give the maximum contribution to the man who hired him in the White House.

Orszag's tale may be the most unseemly, but revolving-door influence peddlers are common at Obama fundraisers. Kathy Brown is Verizon's senior vice president for "public policy development and corporate responsibility." The telecom giant's website says she is "responsible for federal, state and international public policy development and international government relations for Verizon." Like Orszag, Brown's a revolver, having leveraged her time at Bill Clinton's Federal Communications Commission (which regulates Verizon) into a K Street lobbying job before taking over Verizon's lobby shop. Brown has given $17,900 to the Obama Victory Fund.

Whole thing here. Obama has a longstanding problem with both L-words.