"As he did in 2008, Obama has made a point of refusing to accept donations from lobbyists...."

That's a line in today's article on lobbyist money by Washington Post lobbying reporter Dan Eggen and his colleague T.W. Farnam. It's also not a true statement.

Here's the accurate way to describe this issue: Obama has instituted a policy of refusing to accept donations from individuals currently registered as federal lobbyists under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

What's the difference?

  • Well, for one thing, he accepts donations from state-level lobbyists like Mark Boatwright, James O'Neill, and Soyla Fernandez.
  • He accepts donations from people who run lobbying firms, like Lawrence Rasky and Joseph Baerlein, of the lobbying firm Rasky Baerlein and Eugene Ludwig, who founded Promontory Financial Group.
  • He accepts donations from individuals who lobby the administration on behalf of their company, but are not registered to lobby, such as Vint Cerf of Google.
  • He accepts donations from recently deregistered lobbyists like Adam Golodner of Cisco.
  • He accepts donations from corporate "public affairs managers" like Ginny Hunt of Google, or VPs for public affairs like Tom Epstein of Blue Shield of California, and from Senior VPs for "public policy development and corporate responsibility" like Kathy Brown of Verizon.
  • He accepts donations from the spouses of registered lobbyists (who presumably share the same funds with the lobbyists) such as the spouses of lobbyists Susan Brophy and Andy Manatos.
  • His bundlers include Sally Susman who runs the lobbying operation at drugmaker Pfizer, which benefitted handsomely from Obamacare.

I understand why the Obama campaign would want to pretend it rejects all lobbyist money. I would hope the press would stop playing along.