by DoIT, Thu Aug 09, 2007 at 05:52:23 AM EDT
Barack Obama is apparently frustrated with all the endorsements received by his chief rival, Hillary Clinton. He tried to casually laugh off his lack of endorsements stating: "We haven't been in Washington all that long and we haven't traded that many favors." But apparently Obama has been in Washington just long enough to understand the old fashioned method of getting endorsements, you just buy them.
According to Andrew Bolton of The Hill, Obama has been targeting politicians in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Obama showered lawmakers from Iowa and New Hampshire with contributions while other presidential hopefuls turned their focus to raising money for their presidential campaign accounts, records show.
I am not suggesting that Obama has broke any rules or that the lawmakers he targets are offering a quid pro quo endorsement. Even if it were true I couldn't prove it. But as Bolton points out:
Presidential campaigns covet the endorsements of lawmakers from these two states because they will host two of the first contests of the 2008 presidential primary.
In June Obama managed to give every single Democratic member of Congress from Iowa and New Hampshire $5000 each. That's very generous of him and surely he has no ulterior motives for being so carefree with all of his money. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the purpose of raising money for a Party nomination is to get elected. I mean, just maybe he wants to make sure all the Democrats in Iowa and new Hampshire know that he supports them financially. It's not as if he is one of those evil Washington lobbyists expecting something in return. But as Homer Simpson might say: Or is he?
So far Obama's Washington lobbying has bought, I mean brought, one endorsement. Representative Paul Hodes endorsed Obama on July 26. Of course Hodes did not say that Obama had bought his endorsement, that would be unethical. He explained it by saying that Obama had called him more, been more personal. Isn't that special. He calls AND he gives you money. Washington Lobbyist 101. But as Hodes emphasized, just so we wouldn't get the wrong idea:
"I'm not for sale. This is not about money for me. This about what I ultimately think is the best thing to do for the country."
Of course I didn't read anywhere that Hodes offered to return the money to prove it.
There is nothing illegal about Obama's "contributions" to politicians whose endorsement he seeks. And because it isn't illegal I am not going to criticize it or bring up any ethical questions. I feel the same way about Hillary's contributions from lobbyists. If they are legal that's fine with me. I won't take the low road Obama has taken by suggesting that he is trying to buy the votes of the politicians he just happens to give substantial money to, even when it is obvious that he stands to be directly rewarded for his contributions. I just won't go down that road.
But it is a little telling that the Obama campaign is the only Democratic campaign handing out cash only to people that can potentially benefit him.
Fundraising records of other candidates' PACs show no contributions in the past six months to government officials from important primary states.
Clinton's Hill PAC, former Sen. John Edwards's (D-N.C.) One America Committee, Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-Conn.) CHRIS PAC, Sen. Joe Biden's (D-Del.) Unite Our States PAC ... showed no such contributions during the first half of 2007.
It is not my place to judge how the Obama campaign spends it's money. I wouldn't want to compare what he is doing with what say a Washington lobbyist might be doing because well, Obama isn't a registered Washington lobbyist. So I guess the analogy doesn't stand up regardless of the similarities of practice. But if it walks like a duck....