Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lobbyists Paid $1 Million to Honor Obama

Lobbyists and special interests spent more than $1 million during the first half of this year to honor an individual seen as critical of the lobbying industry: President Barack Obama.

During the presidential campaign, Obama said he would not accept contributions from lobbyists and vowed that "they won't find a job in my White House."

On his first day in office, Obama drafted an executive order limiting his hiring of lobbyists, and strengthened a ban on lobbyists' gifts to executive officials, The Hill newspaper reported.

But lobbying organizations and corporations paid for festivities surrounding Obama's inauguration and for events taking place after he entered the White House. Ford Motor Co., for example, spent $105,000 to help sponsor the NAACP's convention in July. Obama spoke at the annual affair.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a key player in the healthcare reform process, gave $20,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in honor of Obama.

Recently released records required under ethics laws show that trade associations, companies and individual lobbyists spent more than $495,000 in honor of Obama, his wife Michelle, and Vice President Joe Biden.

Firms and lobbyists also reported spending more than $700,000 on events surrounding the inauguration, according to The Hill, which noted, "Only the entities and individuals registered to lobby have to file a disclosure report, which means the total amount companies spent on the inauguration and other events could be much higher."

Lobbyists have been flush with cash to spend on such events. As the Insider Report disclosed two weeks ago, lobbying firms filed reports showing that some enjoyed sharply increased earnings in the first half of 2009.

No comments: