Barack Obama has built his campaign on being a Washington outsider, and won’t accept contributions from registered federal lobbyists. But Obama’s candidacy is far from untouched by special-interest cash, Matthew Cooper writes in Portfolio. The wives of more than 20 Washington lobbyists have donated to the Democrat, who also accepts contributions from state lobbyists, partners of law firms that lobby in Washington, and CEOs.
A senior fellow from a government-transparency foundation says that the campaigns are “all running around lifting their skirts like there’s a mouse, saying ‘Eek, there’s a lobbyist!’ But they’re raising tons of money [from corporations.]” A better tactic to combat special interests, he suggests, would be to strengthen lobbyist-disclosure laws and restrict the lobbying abilities of public officials after they leave office.