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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clinton Talks about Protecting American Homeowners—but Contributions Show Close Ties to the Industry’s Interests

Senator Clinton gave a speech today (3/24/08) outlining her plans to address the mortgage crisis— but her history of accepting campaign contributions from PACs and lobbyists representing that same industry shows that she’s enmeshed in the very system that needs to change. Barack Obama has an unparalleled record of standing up to the special interests that stand in the way of meaningful relief for working people.

Senator Obama does not accept PAC or federal lobbyist money, and has pledged to sign the most sweeping ethics reform in history, finally getting tough on the special interests.

“If we’re really going to crack down on the practices that caused the credit and housing crises, we’re going to need a leader who doesn’t owe those industries any favors,” said Obama for America campaign manager David Plouffe. “Barack Obama knows that with so many hardworking Americans struggling to keep their homes and stay out of debt, we need a President who will put our interests before the special interests.”

Senator Clinton has taken more special interest money than any candidate in the race of either party, including:

$56,250 to date from finance industry PACs
Nearly $750,000 total to date from PACs
$72,747.91 to date from insurance industry lobbyists
$919,000 total to date from lobbyists

And Clinton has taken nearly $22,000 this cycle form lobbyists for the sub-prime lending industry [Center for Responsive Politics, accessed: 8/6/07]:

Clinton took $2,300 from Countrywide Financial lobbyist Jennifer Bendall
Clinton took $3,600 from Countrywide Financial lobbyist Stephanie Markiewicz
Clinton took $1,250 from Countrywide Financial lobbyist Maria Cardona
Clinton took $4,600 from Countrywide Financial lobbyist Charles Campion
Clinton took $4,600 from Washington Mutual lobbyist James Free
Clinton took $1,000 from Washington Mutual lobbyist Robert Hickmott.
Clinton took $4,600 from Washington Mutual lobbyist Cantwell F. Muckenfuss

In addition, her campaign activities show close ties to special interests:

12 Of Clinton’s $100,000+ Bundlers Are Federal Lobbyists. 12 of the “HillRaisers” listed on Clinton’s web site were federally registered lobbyists in 2007 or 2008. “HillRaisers” are defined as anyone who raises more than $100,000 for Clinton’s campaign. [http://www.hillaryclinton.com/Q1/HillRaisers/; Senate Office of Public Records]

Clinton Held an “Issues Breakout” Fundraiser With Lobbyists. Clinton's campaign is hosting lobbyist donors for an “issues breakout session” on the morning of June 6. For $500, attendees can choose briefings on education, energy and the environment, health care, and telecommunications and technology, among others, according to a copy of the invite. An extra $500 allows donors to stick around for breakfast with the candidate. “It's somewhat unusual, but it's appreciated,” one lobbyist, a Clinton supporter, said of the fundraiser. Roll Call described the event as being for “Democratic lobbyists eager to hear the particulars of Hillary Rodham Clinton's policy positions.” [Roll Call, 5/9/07; Hillary Clinton for President Event Invitation]

Clinton Planned To Hold A “Rural Americans For Hillary” Lunch At Monsanto Lobbying Firm. Clinton planned to hold a “Rural Americans for Hillary” lunch and campaign briefing at the end of this month at lobbying firm Troutman Sanders Public Affairs which lobbies for the “controversial multinational agri-biotech Monsanto. You read that right: Monsanto, about which there are serious questions about its culpability regarding 56 Superfund Sites, wanton and ‘outrageous’ pollution, and the decidedly unkosher (and quite metaphoric) genetically-bred ‘Superpig.’ A company that the website ‘Ethical Investing’ labels ‘the world's most unethical and harmful investment.’” [ABC, 10/18/07]

Clinton Went Directly From The AFL-CIO Labor Forum To A Lobbyists’ Fundraiser.” “ Clinton, under fire from her rivals for accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists, will head directly from a labor forum in Chicago to a fundraiser at a lobbyist's home Tuesday evening. Clinton, D-N.Y., plans to attend a dessert reception in Wilmette, Ill. -- minimum contribution: $1,000 per person -- at the home of Kevin Conlon, the founder and president of Conlon Public Strategies. Conlon is registered with the federal government to lobby for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to receive federal subsidies. … Clinton has raised more than $413,000 directly from registered lobbyists and their immediate family members -- by far the most of any presidential candidate, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. She also has 10 federal lobbyists serving as ‘Hillraisers’ -- supporters who are committed to raising at least $100,000 apiece for her campaign. [ABC, 8/7/07]

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