The Audacious Hypocrite

Barack Obama’s Enduring Lobbyist Ties

By Ben Domenech Posted in | | | Comments (17) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Trying to lock up the 2008 nomination, Barack Obama sent one of his most prominent lobbyist allies to help convince Puerto Ricans to vote for him.

If you believed that whole shtick about this fellow as the bearer of a new kind of politics – one that rejected the typical Washington-centric choices of the past – well, good for you. You’re an optimist. Rock on. Invest in pork bellies. And yeah, I’m sure HD-DVD and Betamax will make a comeback.

Obama likes lobbyists. They’re likable people. They're paid to be likable, in fact.

Obama has tons of lobbyists hanging around his campaign, giving him money, whispering in his ears. We all knew that. But this is something more.

Obama’s co-director for his entire campaign in Puerto Rico, it turns out, is a Beltway-based federal lobbyist. Not just a little lobbying, no - someone who's made millions doing nothing but lobbying for the past seven years. And what's more, he hasn't even bothered to take a leave of absence from his firm to organize Obama's campaign effort in Puerto Rico.

Jeffrey Birnbaum at that biased neoconservative source, the Washington Post, reports below the fold:

The co-director of Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Puerto Rico is a Washington-based federal lobbyist for the government of Puerto Rico.

Ethics watchdogs said that the high-profile role of Francisco J. Pavía appears to contradict the Obama campaign's ethics guidelines, which forbid federal lobbyists from working on staff. But Obama spokesman Bill Burton said Pavía is an "active volunteer" -- not a paid staffer -- and can hold the job without running afoul of the campaign's rules…

But Obama's rules also have been somewhat ambiguous. Some of his campaign's volunteer policy advisers are lobbyists. And at least one lobbyist said he was asked to take a leave of absence from his firm before he volunteered for the campaign…

Pavía is not on leave from his law firm, Winston & Strawn, according to the managing partner of its Washington office, Thomas L. Mills.

But he has been an important part of the Obama campaign in Puerto Rico, which holds its Democratic primary Sunday. Obama wrote to Puerto Rico's State Elections Commission in March to designate Pavía and Andres Lopez as "our local representatives" to the commission. In May, Pavía and Lopez signed a posting on Obama's campaign Web site that identified them as co-directors of the Puerto Rico effort and solicited volunteers.

Pavía has been a registered lobbyist for various arms of the Puerto Rican government since 2001, according to disclosure reports filed with the U.S. Senate. His firm's total compensation for lobbying for the commonwealth over that period was more than $3 million…

"It sounds like a conflict with Obama's policy," said Melanie Sloan of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "They need to provide an explanation."

Puerto Rico may be new to this whole presidential politics game. But voters on the island know a hypocrite when they see one. For all the talk Obama advances about changing the political paradigm in Washington, people are beginning to understand that he’s just a chic rebranding of the same old failed policies and broken promises. And regardless of these voter's lack of history, their tolerance for bullcrap just ain't that high.

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The Audacious Hypocrite 17 Comments (0 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

You happen to post this right as it comes out that Phil Gramm, one of McCain's top economic advisers, steps down from his campaign because it turns out he is a UBS investment bank lobbyist???? VICE CHAIRMAN to be exact.... pushing to make a buck during this mortgage crisis...

This doesn't bother you? This doesn't bother you that there is an ever growing list of McCain advisors stepping down because of their ties to lobbyist groups? McCain is hanging out and assigning lobbyists to top positions in his campaign and this doesn't upset you, but the mere idea of Obama having ties to lobbyists makes you sick in the gut. So this is a red flag (literally) because Obama is against Lobbyists, however it's not a red flag for McCain because he welcomes them into his camp???

Your logic is a bit out of whack, please rethink what you put together here and please try harder next time.

So you would ignore the story and stay with Obama's repeated promise that his campaign is lobbyist-free?

No, I think that it's important to point out the flaws to Obama's logic. I just don't see why this blogger needs to go and beat their chest over Obama issues when McCain is knee deep in the same problem. If anything they should be calling out to conservatives to double check McCain's record to ensure a clean slate so liberals have little to nothing on the matter to fire back on.

Obama is the one going around beating his chest about the "fact" he is lobbyist free. We are calling him on it. There was no claim about McCain being "clean" from lobbyist. That is your hobgoblin.

One candidate talks about having no ties to lobbyists and does nothing when it turns out he does.

One candidate fires people working for him when he finds out they have ties to lobbyists.

And you think they both deserve equal outrage?

Both candidates will have a big problem if they try to put together a team with no ties to lobbying groups. The truth is that if you have any experience in actual government, especially at the federal level, chances are you have ties to lobbyists.

It is just the way things are, don't be naive, both sides are about equal on this. Sure they can try to farm in some academics , think-tank people, and local yokels to do the job, but those people will probably get rolled by the lobby groups and the entrenched bureaucracy.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

Unfortunately they all have hammers and sickles on them.

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“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say. ” - Martin Luther

How many lobbyists has John McCain had to let go in the last few weeks. Romney was right about McCain. He's a total insider.

If it was that simple, Reagan would have figured it out . . .

Are you really the fourth suspected troll today or the same one coming back for more?

Either that or its disgruntled paultards.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

not a record but certainly a "top 20 percenter"

"A man does what he can and endures what he must."

a tool that would track the fastest BLAM! It would be nice to keep a tally on these so we can make fun of the newest record holder. We could call it: Looks like someone is trying to out-(?) ?. Or something like that.

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"If we want to take this party back, and I think we can someday, let’s get to work." – Barry Goldwater

Obama just talks out of both sides of his mouth and has taken the theme promise them anything to get elected to new heights.

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